When you work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a revocable living trust, you will usually name yourself as trustee and manage your financial assets as you have previously. However, it’s necessary to name a successor trustee. This person or entity can act, if you’re incapacitated or pass away. Selecting the right trustee is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, and some clients wonder whether they should use a corporate trustee.
The Quad Cities Times’ recent article entitled “Benefits of a corporate trustee” warns that care should be taken when selecting someone to serve in this role. Family members may not have the experience, ability and time required to perform the duties of a trustee. Those with personal relationships with beneficiaries may cause conflicts within the family. You can name almost any adult, including family members or friends, but think about a corporate or professional trustee as the possible answer.
Experience and Dedication. Corporate trustees can devote their full attention to the trust assets and possess experience, resources, access to tax, legal, and investment knowledge that may be hard for the average person to duplicate. They can also be hired as the administrative trustee—letting them concentrate on the operation of the trust. You can also hire a registered investment advisor to manage the investment assets. A corporate trustee can also be engaged as both administrative trustee and investment manager.
Regulation and Protection. Corporate trustees provide safety and security of your assets and are regulated by both state and federal law. They are also held to the fiduciary standard of acting solely in the best interests of trust beneficiaries.
Successor Trustee. If you choose to name personal trustees, you may provide in your trust documents for a corporate trustee as a successor, in case none of the personal trustees are available, capable, or willing to serve. Corporate trustees are institutions that don’t become incapacitated or die. You should consider the type of assets you own including investment securities, farmland and commercial real estate and then choose the most qualified trustee to manage them.
In sum, many estates can benefit from the advantages of a corporate trustee.
Ask an experienced estate planning attorney when creating or amending a revocable living trust, about naming the appropriate trustee. Whether it is an individual or a corporation, it is one of the most important decisions you will make.
Reference: Quad Cities Times (Nov. 28, 2021) “Benefits of a corporate trustee”