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Choosing trustees during estate planning

Individuals in Florida who are working on trusts as part of their estate plans need to carefully consider the choice of trustee. This is an important decision because no matter how carefully a trust is designed, if the trustee or trustees do not administer it properly, the goals of the individual who formed the trust may not be achieved.

There are a number of aspects an individual may consider that can help in making the most appropriate trustee choices. The first thing to think about is the purpose of the trust. Trusts can be useful and might offer a number of benefits. Common uses for trusts include minimizing taxes, asset protection, protection of beneficiaries and the preservation of assets over time. The purpose of the trust should weigh heavily on how the trustee is chosen.

In addition, trusts may have a number of different provisions, and they might require different degrees of hands-on management. An individual who might best manage a trust that is worth thousands of dollars might not be the same person who could best deal with a complex trust holding millions in assets. Other considerations concern the trustee's character. Considering the skills and expertise of a trustee is important, and the trustee's demeanor when handling difficult or contentious issues regarding the administration of the trust should be considered as well.

When attempting to form a trust it might be beneficial for a person to consult with an estate planning lawyer. That individual may be able to help a client understand the different aspects of trust formation and might provide insight when the client is choosing a trustee.

Source: Wealth Management, "Tips From The Pros: The Most Disrespected Decision in Estate Planning", Charles A. Redd, June 24, 2014

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