Should you name your children as trustees of your trust? The answer varies greatly depending on your situation. For the most part we always want to treat our children equally. Some circumstances, however, don’t warrant giving your children the same responsibilities. When you are setting up your estate plan, or trust, you are naming a trustee to handle your affairs. If you are married, it is typical to name yourself and your spouse as co-trustees so you are handling your own affairs during your lifetime. At some point, however, you will need someone else to step in when the time comes that you and your spouse are no longer here. Your successor trustee should be someone you trust who you know will be able to handle the responsibility of executing your estate plan and handling your affairs. After yourself and your spouse, many turn to naming their adult children as trustees. If you have several adult children you many feel the need to name all of them as trustees, but there are a few things to think about first. Should you name your children as trustees of your trust? Here’s what to know…

While you may want to name all your children as trustees to spare any hurt feelings, there are several things to think about. Administering your estate will be a long and emotional process. Are all of your children emotionally capable and responsible enough to handle the tasks? It’s not easy either way, but give the responsibility to your child that you know will be able to handle it. If this isn’t a worry for you, then you can either name all your children, or put an order of responsibility by who you think would be best at the job. This way if one of your children doesn’t feel capable, there is guidance so the next on the list can take over and help.

What to Think About When Naming Your Children as Trustees…

Do all your children get along? If they don’t, then naming all of your children as successor trustees may only make the process harder. While your children wouldn’t be able to change the stipulations you have in your estate plan, they could make the process harder by dragging things out. This would only make an emotional time even harder for your other children. If you foresee this being a bigger issue, you can always name a professional trustee to oversee the process.  Another factor to consider is if all your children live in the same area. Many times there will be documents that need signatures and also physical assets that need to be dealt with. Will all your children be available to take care of these things? If you have one child who isn’t close by, it could make the process for your other children incredibly difficult.

Being in charge of administering an estate or taking over as a trustee is a very time consuming and emotional process so choosing someone for the role shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just because they are your children doesn’t mean the job needs to go to all of them. Consider where your children may be in their lives and the skillsets that they have, would they be able to handle the job? Would they have the time with having their own families and career demands? Think about this and you can even have a conversation with them to get a sense of what they would want their role to be.

We can help you answer the question “should you name your children as trustees of your trust?”. Contact us and tell us about your situation. We’re happy to help you navigate your estate plan and guide you through the process.

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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.