For people in Georgia, choosing the right trustee is an important part of making sure that a trust works as it is intended. There are a number of elements to consider, including whether the trustee should be someone who has a personal connection to the family. The wrong trustee could upset the plans included in even the most carefully designed trust.
A trustee needs more than a good understanding of a person’s values and goals for the trust. Trustees have a significant amount of fiduciary responsibility. Being a trustee could involve making the right investments, tax planning and deciding whether or not to grant beneficiaries’ requests for distributions. In addition to the financial and legal expertise required, this could also put the trustee in a difficult situation emotionally if the trustee has a personal relationship with the beneficiaries.
One option might be multiple trustees. One of those trustees could be a corporate trustee. This might be the trust department of a bank or a trust company. If one beneficiary is financially irresponsible, the corporate trustee can be objective about how to proceed. This can help protect both the trust and the relationship between the beneficiary and the other co-trustees. Trusts may require all trustees to agree on a decision or might permit one trustee to take action alone.
Trusts can be a powerful part of an estate plan in many different ways. Some trusts may not give trustees the discretion to make distributions to beneficiaries. Instead, they might specify that distributions will be made at milestones in the lives of the beneficiaries, such as on reaching a certain age or getting married. Trusts can provide assistance for family members with special needs without affecting that family member’s access to government benefits. They can also be used to help charities, protect assets from creditors and more.