A trustee is not an applicable player in every single estate filed across the country. A trustee is only relevant when you have established trusts for the distribution of assets during your life or after you pass away.
A trustee is the person officially responsible for administering these trusts, and the trustee’s role is very similar to that of an executor. However, the trustee’s responsibilities may extend much further because they must be handled until the trust is fully distributed. You can determine what type of trust you need to use and the length of time over which it will be distributed by communicating with an estate planning attorney about your specific goals.
A trustee also may have more discretion than a typical executor when it comes to distribution of income and principal being made to beneficiaries and how that happens. The trustee must act impartially by continuing to communicate with beneficiaries and may not be involved in any self-interested activities, such as doing things that benefit their personal interests rather than that of the trust or its beneficiaries. Choosing a trustee is a complicated process.
You may choose to appoint someone who has experience in financial tax or other legal related matters. It is very important to have a conversation with your chosen trustee before establishing them in this role. The trustee must be someone who can communicate well with beneficiaries and who has great organizational skills. Do not unload this responsibility on someone without first confirming that they are willing and able to serve in this manner.
Contact our New Hampshire or Maine estate planning lawyers now to learn more about your options in creating a trust and naming a trustee.