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Should I modify my trust to add a trustee with more experience? When you first created your estate plan, you likely weighed your options carefully when it came to selecting a successor trustee. After all, this role is very important. The individual selected may have been a trusted friend, loved one, or advisor. The successor trustee is the individual responsible for carrying out your wishes after you pass. As time passes, however, you may find that your estate has become more complex. It may be time to modify your estate plan to add a trustee who has experienced serving in this role.

Why Experience Is Important When it Comes to Trustees

  1. Successor trustees are responsible for managing the assets of the trust. If the assets are not properly managed, this could substantially minimize the inheritance of your beneficiaries.
  2. Successor trustees are responsible for overseeing all of the tax obligations of the trust. An inexperienced trustee may not know what issue to look for or deadlines to abide by.
  3. Successor trustees are responsible for investment management. If they are inexperienced, they may be less likely to handle assets in the most efficient manner. Even if a professional advisor is brought in, an inexperienced trustee may not know what to look for in order to ensure that the advisor is investing the assets wisely.
  4. Successor trustees often have to make difficult discretionary decisions. If they are unfamiliar with how this works, they may find themselves making poor choices that can damage the assets of the trust or cause conflict with the beneficiaries.
  5. Successor trustees face significant record keeping responsibilities. If proper record keeping is not performed—including accounting for the receipt and disbursement of all income and principal from the trust—assets could be harmed, the trustee could face liability, and beneficiaries may be left in the dark as to their inheritance.

As the complexity of an estate grows, the need for an experienced trustee grows as well. In many cases, it may be wise to consider using a corporate trustee to serve as your successor. A corporate trustee has the experience necessary for handling these tasks efficiently.

Should I modify my trust to add a trustee with more experience? If you are considering a modification to your estate plan, we are here to provide you with guidance and knowledge. We encourage you to view our client testimonials page today to learn more about how we have helped many other clients update their trusts.

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