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Do I Really Need an Independent Professional Trustee?

So you’ve already made the decision to use a trust as an estate planning strategy to shield assets from potential creditors or predators, to add a layer of privacy to the management of your estate plan and to exercise some level of control over how assets in your estate are passed on. 

This is an important first step in the process but you might also need to give a careful evaluation to who you choose to serve as the trustee. While a family member might have the necessary skills to step into this role, a family member is not always the right choice.

Typically speaking, an independent professional trustee is much likely to follow the terms of your trust to the letter. This is because they will have internal and external audits, management oversight and written procedures and policies outlined by you. Professional trustees also have tended to serve in these roles before and are familiar with what is required of them as well as the lines they cannot cross in performing their role.

An independent professional trustee can minimize the possibility for conflict when they are not immediately related to anyone who is receiving benefits or assets inside the trust. A professional trustee will also understand that any monies left inside the trust do not belong to the trustee and should be comfortable in working in a close capacity with your loved ones to manage the disbursements of funds and handle communication professionally.

 



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