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How to choose a trustee

When estate owners in Florida, or anywhere else in the country, create a trust, they typically do so because they want to ensure that their money is managed and distributed in a particular way. In some cases, this is because the trust creator wants to encourage a beneficiary or beneficiaries to complete certain goals before receiving trust money. Other times, the beneficiary of a trust may have difficulty making good decisions about money and other life choices, so a trustee is necessary to ensure that the funds are spent responsibly.

Unfortunately, some trust creators are too quick to appoint friends or family members as trustees. Because these trustees often have a personal relationship with the trust beneficiary, it can be difficult for the trustee to properly manage and control access to funds. In addition, a trustee may not have the financial savvy to properly manage any investments that are part of the trust.

Some attorneys and financial consultants advise appointing a neutral third-party as a trustee. Banks, for example, often have trust departments that offer these services. A neutral trustee could work alone, or as a co-trustee with a family member or friend, to ensure that the trust is managed properly and that the distributions are in line with the wishes of the trust creator.

Individuals who are considering trusts as part of an estate plan may benefit from consulting with an experienced attorney. Legal counsel might be able to look over the client's situation and make suggestions concerning the way a trust should be created. An attorney could also offer advice on selecting a trustee or trustees.

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