By Darlynn Morgan, Trust Lawyer California

When creating an estate plan, you will be asked to name people who can handle your financial affairs on behalf of your beneficiaries should something happen to you. In my experience, this decision is one of the toughest you will need to make – second only to deciding who will raise your children.

Sometimes people come to me thinking that they will automatically name their closest relative or friend as trustee or successor trustee. But sometimes that isn’t the right choice.  The reason is that there are certain qualifications and skills that a trustee should have that your closest relative or family friend may not possess.

When guiding my clients through this decision-making process, I ask them to think about the following qualifications and make a list of people who may be right for the job:

  • Does this person have good common sense?
  • Does this person have good business sense?
  • Is this person organized?
  • Does this person’s physical location allow them to effectively manage their duties?
  • Are they capable of dealing with interpersonal issues? (Can they deal with beneficiaries who may be unhappy ones?)
  • Are they honest?
  • Do they even want the job?

If you cannot find a family member or friend that possesses these basic qualifications, then you should probably consider a corporate trust company or bank to oversee your Orange County trust administration process.

When people first learn about the option of naming an institution as trustee the initial reaction is fear of fees that may be charged for these services. While it is true that trust companies and banks do charge fees, it is important to understand that individuals named as trustees are also eligible to receive payment for services rendered.  So, it is oftentimes more important to consider the questions above rather than be concerned with the cost.

Naming trustees for your estate plan is critical and just one of the steps that I take my clients through in the Family Wealth Planning sessions I hold at my Newport Beach estate planning office.  That is why I schedule two hours of my time for each session.  I want to allow plenty of time to go through these issues and help you make the best decision for your family.

If you are interested in talking further about this with a trust lawyer, California residents should call my office and speak to Veronica who will be happy to schedule your own Family Wealth Planning session at no-charge simply by mentioning this article (normally $750).  However, this offer is limited to 10 appointments per month, so call (949) 260-1400 to schedule your appointment today.