In some cases, you may find that choosing the successor trustee of your trust is one of the most difficult aspects of creating an estate plan. It is difficult for good reason; the successor trustee can make or break an effective trust administration. Location is not enough when it comes to choosing this individual. Just because your beneficiaries live in the Anaheim area and your successor trustee does as well is, in and of itself, insufficient for choosing the right trustee. You must search for someone who possesses the right character traits.
Five Character Traits of a Good Successor Trustee
What traits should you look for when selecting a successor trustee? Consider the following:
- Responsible. Obviously, a successor trustee is faced with many tasks during a trust administration. It is important to choose someone who will take this role seriously and carry out the tasks required.
- Compassionate. Compassion is an often-overlooked quality that is so important in a successor trustee, especially when beneficiaries are young or have special needs. You want the beneficiaries to feel comfortable contacting the trustee when they need help or guidance. A person who is compassionate is more likely to be able to offer that comfort and support to your beneficiaries.
- Diligent. The trustee has many duties and tasks to carry out, and sometimes this requires multiple follow-ups with various types of professionals. It is important to choose someone who is diligent about making sure that the job gets done right and on time.
- Resourceful. There will be many times during a trust administration when your successor trustee will be in need of assistance. Choosing someone who is resourceful helps to ensure that he will seek help when needed and not try to make decisions or take actions outside of his realm of knowledge.
- Professional. In situations where the trust is small or most of the parties involved know each other, there is sometimes a tendency to “play it loose” when it comes to the laws for administering a trust. It is important, however, for your trustee to act professionally—regardless of the relationships he has with your beneficiaries. This is true not just for the safeguarding of trust assets; it also protects the trustee from later accusations or lawsuits brought against him by an unhappy beneficiary.
Are you ready to create an estate plan? Are you wondering whom you should choose as your successor trustee? We can help! Send us an email or start a live chat with us today.