When Should I Use a Corporate Trustee as My Successor Trustee?

A successor trustee is the individual or entity appointed to handle trust affairs should you become incapacitated or pass away. If you are not sure that a family member or friend you intended to appoint in the role of successor trustee could handle this responsibility well or you fear that it could only spark further family conflict, you may be able to avoid some of these problems by using a trust company or the trust division of a bank.

No matter who you choose, your trustee should be professional and competent and have good skills when it comes to record keeping and decision making for distributing money to beneficiaries. A professional trustee might make the most sense in your case if you have a trust that is intended to last for a long time such as one that would provide for grandchildren.

Another example when it makes sense to choose a corporate trustee is if you have very valuable assets. In most simple revocable living trusts, however, that are designed for avoiding probate, it might not make sense to pay a professional because professional management in a successor trustee role is expensive.

Many trust companies won’t accept accounts that are below a certain minimum and will charge a percentage of the assets as the fee. Some of the potential downsides of going with professional management might include:

  • Not accepting other kinds of assets beside cash.
  • The management might not be as personal as that from a friend or family member.
  • Beneficiaries might have to deal with new people frequently as bank or trust company employees come and go.
  • Beneficiaries may not get a quick decision when they ask for trust funds since this will need to go through the other entity.

If you need help figuring out how to approach trustee issues, look for a time to meet with our NH trust planning lawyer.

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