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The pros and cons of family trustees

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Estate Planning, Trusts |

When you set up a trust, one of the pivotal decisions you will make is selecting the right trustee. This person or entity will be responsible for managing your trust’s assets, ensuring they reach the right beneficiaries according to your wishes.

Many people choose a professional trustee, like a lawyer or a financial institution, to manage their trust because of their expertise. Meanwhile, others prefer to have family members step into this role for their deep connection to the trustor. Before you make this critical decision, here is a breakdown of the benefits and potential pitfalls of designating a family as your trustee.

Pros of selecting a family member as a trustee

Choosing who will manage your trust is as crucial as the decision to create one. Here are some advantages of selecting a family member as your trustee:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Generally, a family member will manage the trust without expecting compensation, allowing you to save on the overall cost of administering the trust.
  • Trust and comfort: Having a family member at the helm can provide a sense of comfort and confidence that might not be as strong when you opt for a lawyer or a financial institution. A relative also often deeply understands your family’s needs and dynamics, which can be invaluable in managing trust according to your values and goals.

These advantages underscore the unique value family members bring to the trustee role, blending personal understanding with financial stewardship.

Cons of selecting a family member as a trustee

While there are benefits to appointing a family member as a trustee, it is important to also consider the potential drawbacks:

  • Potential for conflict: Having such a connected individual to your family can open the door for issues such as perceived bias or disputes over decisions. This can lead to strained relationships or even legal challenges.
  • Lack of expertise: Managing a trust requires specific legal and financial knowledge. Without this, your trustee might not be able to manage the trust effectively, jeopardizing the financial security of the beneficiaries.

While opting for a family member may offer familiarity, trust and cost savings, it also comes with significant risks. By thoughtfully considering these factors, you can make a well-informed decision that can ensure the smooth management of your trust.