Selecting the Right Trustee

A typical misconception about estate planning is that people who are considered older should be concerned with them and that there is always time to go and create a will or trust. The problem with that thought process is that estate plans are much more than the passing of assets to another person. Estate plans can include the power to make decisions for a person regarding health concerns if said person is incapacitated or is unable voice the decision themselves. This is typically an overlooked aspect of estate planning and actually is a very important one in the case of a car accident or maybe a work related injury. Some may argue that one can go make the health care power of attorney if something was to happen, but may forget that if a person is incapacitated they will not be able to create this document. In addition, if an emergency is to occur, it is normal to be in a frazzled state and not think things through clearly before making important documents. Because of these mentioned reasons, it is a very important decision to set up a very precise health care power of attorney and make sure that your health and life is protected in case of an emergency.

The other side of estate planning that younger individuals do not typically think about are wills and trusts to protect the assets that they have. Homes, bank accounts, automobiles, burial expenses are the items people correlate to wills and trusts, but social media accounts and smaller personal belongings is what is left out of that thought process. They may seem minuscule and unimportant, but should be taken care of to make sure that they go into the correct hands. Everything of slight importance could be and should be mentioned in a will so that nothing is left to chance. Also, younger people without a great deal of assets tend to believe that their assets will always be placed in the hands of their spouse or maybe parents, which ends up not being true. It is always beneficial to have a will or trust set up, even for a small amount of assets, so that the assets are distributed to the correct people and survivors do not have to go through a tedious process which occurs when there is no estate plan. In addition, assets that have been obtained after the will or trust has been established can always be added to the documents, so that they are protected as well.

A very important aspect of estate planning that usually is not mentioned in articles is the actual picking of the trustee and how to make sure you have chosen the correct person. The questions that should be asked to picking a trustee are as follows:

–         Does he or she have the experience and knowledge to manage complicated financial affairs in a competent and knowledgeable manner?

–         If he or she must make a decision that may affect family members, will they act in a fair and unbiased manner?

–         Will naming a family member as trustee create tension between family members?

–         Does the prospective trustee have the time to manage your trust and will do so without rushing?

–         Does he or she want this important responsibility?

–         Is there another person in mind to serve as trustee if the trustee selected can’t do it?

These questions should be thought about with the uttermost care and should be discussed with a third party to get a second opinion on the potential choice of the trustee. An attorney could help make the correct choice of a trustee because they would be unbiased. Please contact attorney Anthony Marinaccio at 818-839-5220 with any questions.