Monday, April 23, 2012
Who should I choose as my Trustee?
One of the most important decisions anyone can make when creating an estate plan is the selection of their successor Trustee(s). In a revocable living trust (RLT), these are the people who will take over your financial/business affairs upon your disability and/or death. Unfortunately, I feel that many individuals approach this decision from the wrong direction. Too much weight is often placed on a candidate’s personal business success and/or technical ‘smarts.’ Although these things are important, I advise clients that there are three inherent qualities that you want in your successor trustee that are not as much a learned skill; but instead, a hard wired part of their being. These three are as follows: 1) absolute honesty; 2) dependability; 3) and the ability to take counsel from others. All of the technical skills and information required to administer your trust can be learned (or purchased in the form of professional assistance of CPAs, Financial Advisors and Attorneys); however, if your successor trustee does not have the three inherent qualities I described, all of the technical prowess in the world may not be enough to protect your beneficiaries from mismanagement of trust assets. At JGB, we take the time to help each client work through their respective choices for successor trustees so that they can intelligently select the appropriate command and control system within their estate plan.
The Attorneys of Johnson, Gasink & Baxter, LLP assist clients throughout Virginia, including but not limited to Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Poquoson, Fort Eustis, Newport News, Hampton, Virginia Beach, Sandbridge, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Toano, Norge, Lightfoot, New Kent County, Providence Forge, Surry, Charles City, Henrico County, Richmond, Hanover County, Mechanicsville, Ashland, Glen Allen, Charlottesville, and Northern VA.