What Can I Do to Have My Trustee Avoid Mistakes?

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Being the trustee of a trust fund is not something anyone can do. That is, serving in this position requires soft skills such as strong time management and communication. This is not to mention the technical skills such as being able to interpret legally binding documents, understand tax laws, and manage finances, among other things. With all things considered, you must supply your appointed trustee with all the necessary tools to set them up for success. Follow along to find out what you can do to help your trustee avoid making mistakes and how a proficient Putnam County trusts attorney at the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC can offer additional help.

What characteristics should I look for in a trustee?

To first thing you can do to set up your trustee for success is confirm they are the right person for this position to begin with. Specifically, you must ensure they meet the legal capacity and can fulfill the fiduciary duty expected of a trustee.

For one, New York estate law requires an appointed trustee to be the legal age of 18 years or older. Also, an appointed trustee must be of sound mind and capable of managing their affairs independently. Only then may they meet the legal capacity.

Secondly, New York estate law expects an appointed trustee to have a clear understanding of the position they sign up for. In turn, an appointed trustee must have an expressed interest to act in the best interest of the grantor of the trust, the trust itself, and the beneficiaries of the trust. Only then may they satisfy their fiduciary duty.

In addition to fulfilling the enforced legal capacity and fiduciary duty, the main characteristic your appointed trustee should possess is being someone you trust with something as serious as your legacy.

What can I do to have my trustee avoid making mistakes?

Essentially, there may be initiatives you can take while you are still around to have your trustee avoid making mistakes when it matters most. Such initiatives may include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • You should inform them that you intend to name them as the trustee of your trust fund before you make it official.
  • You should disclose the responsibilities they are expected to uphold before they give their explicit consent to be named the trustee of your trust fund.
  • You should explain the emotional landscape of your beneficiaries so they understand how to best work with and communicate with them when necessary.
  • You should clarify your beneficiaries’ rights so they do not accidentally violate or offend them by any means.
  • You should specify that they cannot borrow your trust’s funds for any personal reasons or gains.
  • You should give them the option to ask for a fee if they deem it necessary.

There is no time like the present to appoint your trustee. So, at your earliest possible convenience, please get in touch with a talented Putnam County estate planning attorney at the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC.

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