During the process of creating a trust, you will repeatedly have to weigh the choice to outline your wishes in detail versus giving ultimate flexibility to your trustee. An estate plan that is created to give a trustee ultimate discretion may favor flexibility over ensuring that your wishes are carried out precisely as you wanted them to be. The priorities for every trust are different. It is important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you understand the risks and benefits associated with each of your choices.
As you create an estate plan in Anaheim, you may consider giving the trustee discretion for many decisions, including the following:
- Deciding when to distribute the assets of the trust to the beneficiaries
- Deciding who should receive certain assets within the trust
- Deciding whether to hold, rent, or sell real estate held by the trust
- Deciding which assets should be liquidated in order to pay the expenses of trust administration
- Deciding whether certain distributions are necessary according to the terms of the trust
- Deciding whether to hire outside assistance, such as attorneys, financial advisors, CPAs, or corporate trustees
- Deciding whether to make certain tax elections
Giving this discretion to your successor trustee is often good because it allows for ultimate flexibility. Ideally, your trustee will weigh the pros and cons of each decision and have the ability to make the choice that best suits the goals of the trust. Unfortunately, there are negatives to relying on trustee discretion, as well. Since you are leaving the decision-making to your trustee, there is no guarantee that she will make the same decisions that you would have made, had you been the decision-maker. Similarly, the trustee may face scrutiny and discontent from a beneficiary if that individual understands that the trustee has the ability to make certain choices.
To learn more about how best to structure your trust, contact an experienced Anaheim estate planning attorney for assistance. For more information, contact the Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC, today at (714) 459-5481.