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Reflections on Who Should Settle Your Estate (or Be Your Trustee)

August 6, 2019

One of the most important questions to be addressed in an estate plan is the choice of executor to supervise the settlement of the estate. If a trust is part of the plan, the choice of trustee is equally crucial. The first thought that many parents may have is to nominate a child for these responsibilities.

Attorney Stuart Bear explored this question in a presentation to the Heckerling Institute. He explores with his clients what will be required for the jobs, and asks them to think through the consequences of their choice. A series of questions are used to guide the conversation, such as:

  • Do your children get along?
  • Do your children get along with each other’s spouses?
  • Are your children able to work together?
  • How would one child react to his or her sibling
  • managing and distributing the assets?
  • Are your children financially stable?
  • Are your children in similar financial situations?
  • Is there a child you foresee demanding his or her inheritance immediately?
  • How would one child react to his or her sibling having a position of powerover him or her?
  • Do your children have time to fulfill fiduciary responsibilities?
  • Do your children have the financial and personal skills to administer the estate?

Very often this conversation will lead the client to realize that a neutral party with experience in estate settlement is likely to be a better choice for promoting family harmony. We can be that neutral third party.

© 2019 M.A. Co. All rights reserved.

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