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Choosing a trustee for your estate plan

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Many Florida estate plans use trusts to accomplish all or a portion of the goals of the person making the plan. Perhaps the most obvious issue in creating a trust is finding a person to act as trustee. Many people simply choose a friend or relative to fill this role, but these choices may not be the best ones available. Before selecting a person to act as trustee, a person should understand the different types of trustees and the advantages and disadvantages of each type.


The most important aspect of selecting a trustee is finding a person or organization that is trustworthy. Trusts are established to provide benefits to the beneficiaries who are named in the trust. Accordingly, trustees are given possession of the assets comprising the trust, and a trustee must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and cannot serve their personal interests. A close friend or relative may fill this role, but the future can be uncertain, and a friend or relative may not be the best choice in the long run.

A professional trustee

A professional trustee is a person or organization that offers dependable trustee services for a fee. Attorneys and accountants are frequently chosen to act as professional trustees because they possess the specialized knowledge that trustees require to fulfill their duties and because they are personally acquainted with the person establishing the trust.

An institutional trustee can be the trust department of a bank or a similar division in a financial services company. An employee of the institution who possesses the required knowledge and skills may be permanently assigned to oversee a specific trust.

Knowledge and skills

The previous discussion implies the obvious need for a trustee who possesses the knowledge of financial institutions and markets and who can make informed decisions on behalf of the beneficiaries in choosing investments or selling assets.

Investigate the skills and trustworthiness of a potential trustee

A person searching for a trustee may do well to consult with friends or associates who possess knowledge of local financial markets, attorneys and accountants for recommendations.



Photo of Jennifer D. Sharpe