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Help in picking the right trustee

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2023 | Estate Planning |

When you finally take the step to finishing up your estate plan, you likely will have at least one trust as part of it. And, while you will likely task someone within your friend or family circle with some responsibilities within your estate plan, one task you should likely leave to a professional is the person who runs that trust, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, trustee.


Creating a trust is a legal process, and so too is maintaining it. In addition, trusts have accounting, tax and other legal requirements to maintain their status. Plus, trusts often last for decades, which all means that you need a professional trustee. As such, unless you have a professional trustee as a friend or family member, your search for a trustee should be outside your friend and family circle.

Trustee costs

Even if you have a healthy trust, cost should be a factor. You do not want your trustee siphoning off more assets than are reasonable to effectuate your goals. When you compare trustees, ask for their comprehensive fee. The comprehensive fee includes all fees, which should include if they must contract out services, like CPAs, attorney services, investment management, etc.

Insurance and liability coverage

Next, make sure your Fort Lauderdale, Florida, trustee is adequately covered in case they are sued. This means asking about liability coverage, assets in trust, etc. Financial solvency in the face of a huge lawsuit could make the difference, should they make a bad financial decision that affects your trust or other trust and results in lawsuits.

Legal and financial experience

Make sure that you understand the nature of your trust and the assets contained within your trust. If you do not understand it, ask questions until you do, and make sure that when you look for a trustee, they understand your trust and assets as well. If your trust is primarily real estate, the trustee needs to understand property management. If it is primarily stocks, the trustee will need to have brokerage experience.

Moreover, you need to make sure they understand the legal and financial requirements for your trust type. For many trust types, the trust can lose its legal protections if they are not adequately and legally run. As such, you must use appropriate due diligence when selecting your Fort Lauderdale, Florida, trustee.



Photo of Jennifer D. Sharpe