Florida residents should proceed with caution when it comes to naming an estate trustee. Many people naturally assume that a close relative would make a good trustee because of their familiarity with the estate owner. However, this might not always be a good idea, particularly in families with a high net worth. In many instances, an impartial third party would be a better choice.
Although no one knows the estate owner better than their spouse, naming a husband or wife as trustee can lead to complications, especially in a blended family. If a spouse remarries, the financial well-being of the new spouse might take priority over that of the children or stepchildren. A spouse might also favor a child who lives nearby and visits often. There is also the concern that the health of an aging spouse might prohibit them from carrying out their trustee duties.
A child may not be the best choice for trustee either. This is especially true when family members are in business together. Even when siblings get along well, their spouses may not. Running a family business is hard enough without having to manage a trust. However, a professional should be able to remain impartial and protect the interests of all family members.
Trusts have many benefits. They help protect an estate from taxes, creditors and divorce. Furthermore, an estate owner can manage assets within a trust while making sure that those assets will be passed on to the intended heirs. However, establishing a trust can become quite complicated. Many estate owners may find it helpful to enlist the services of a law firm with experience in estate planning.