Fiduciary & Trustee Services
Benefits of an Independent Trustee
- Help remove the burden from family members and friends.
- Ensure that all beneficiaries are treated fairly.
- Reduce the potential for stress and conflict that can arise due to family involvement.
Your situation is exactly why I decided to offer these services. There is a real need out there. Every family and every trust I have ever worked with has had issues in one area or another.
I offer my services as co-trustee, to help those who have been left as a trustee and don't know what to do. After death, unless a trustee resigns, you can not add a co-trustee, so I am more of their guide. I give them the steps they should be taking with funding and distributions. I make sure the accounting and tax returns are done. I help them understand their duties as allowed by the way the trust is written. I handle communicating with the beneficiaries, it takes the heat off the trustee. I guide their actions to only those allowed under the trust, so keeps them under control, (most of them...if not, I resign.). Attorney offices will assign a paralegal to do this in their office. However, I find the communication skills get lost and the trustees get tired of the bills and usually fire the attorney. I guide the trustee to use the attorney when needed so things are implemented properly and there is efficient use of the attorney's time.
As a professional fiduciary, I can be named trustee in the trust and/or appointed by the court. I would be restricted to implement the trust as written. I would take control of the funds and distribute as per the trust. I would use a professional investment adviser for investing assets. I will also confer and work with the trust attorney when necessary. My job is to guard and protect the assets and distribute income per the trust. I could also distribute principle portions, per the trust guide lines. Loans, if allowed by the trust, could be made as long as they were reasonable and documented with formal agreements. My job is to be impartial and treat all beneficiaries fairly.
If it is a living trust, which upon death is instructed to collect assets and distribute in full, I try to do this as soon as possible. Many family trustees thrive on the power of the control and keep the trust open unnecessarily. They spend the trust the way they see it and not what is written in the trust. They create more attorney and accountant fees than necessary.
I have seen many trustees take unfair advantage of their position. Unfortunately, the family members are either ignorant or do not want to press the issue, because it is a family member and they get taken advantage of. There is no policing of the trustee if the beneficiaries do not object.
Naming a professional fiduciary in the trust is the best way to avoid problems. A court appointment would only take place if there were no trustees or if there were legal problems that the court took control of.
You will rarely hear a Trustee say they "would like to do that again!" I will work with you and your attorney to see you through a smooth and timely transition. The time consuming job of a trustee can be stressful and expensive, if not done properly. I will save you more in taxes, interest, and stress, then you would ever pay in accounting fees.
Let us help you do it right the first time!