3rd May 2013
Selecting the right trustee or successor trustee is perhaps the most important decision that the creator of a living trust makes when forming the living trust.
It is not by mistake that Trusts are called “trusts”. The number one qualification for a trustee is their integrity and honesty. Second, the trustee must be effective, that is, they are the kind of person that gets the job done.
Never name a trustee based on emotional or hopeful reasons. Don’t name the oldest child as trustee just because they are the oldest. Don’t name someone as trustee because you are afraid that person will be offended if you don’t name them as the trustee.
In other words, don’t nominate a trustee in order to bestow an honor on someone. A trustee should be a person of the highest moral character and a hard worker. You are giving them an important job to do.
The lazy, unemployed, oldest son who has been in and out of jail for theft is the wrong person to name as the trustee. But, in my experience, I see it done more often than you think.
Carefully consider the nomination of the trustee, it makes all the difference in the world.
Dwight Edward Tompkins,
Estate Planning Lawyer.