Help! I Need to Choose a Trustee

Choosing a Trustee

By Anna Smith, Managing Executive of FineMark National Bank & Trust

Many of my banking clients come to me with questions about their personal finances. One question that has been posed to me repeatedly is, “Anna, how do I choose the right trustee?”

Whether you ultimately choose a family member or a professional, I would recommend thinking through the following necessary components of your future trustee’s job. After all, it is important that your plans are carried out exactly as you intend.

  • Make sure your trustee has the necessary expertise. Trustees have numerous responsibilities, including maintaining separate principal and income accounting, providing accounting to beneficiaries, managing trust assets, and staying current with trust, estate, and tax issues.
  • Make sure your trustee wants to serve. Often we see trustees who don’t fully understand what is required. Make sure your trustee is willing and able to take on this role. If someone asks you to be a trustee, do your research before making a decision.
  • Make sure you know and have a relationship with your corporate trustee. If you decide to use a corporate trustee, ask questions, spend time getting to know them, and make sure they are willing to meet regularly.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Whether you decide on a corporate trustee or a loved one, communication is essential to make sure your trust is executed the way you intended. Taking the time now will save frustration later.

FineMark National Bank & Trust has an office on The Island at Shell Point Retirement Community. If you have questions about this article, contact us by phone at (239) 461-5999.