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Selecting a trustee for a trust

Nevada residents are well aware of the importance of estate planning. Those who pass away without leaving a valid will and testament are leaving their worldly possessions to the say of probate court. However, the choice of who should administrate the estate and manage a trust can be as critical as writing the will itself.

The purpose of a trust is the first thing to consider when selecting a trustee. It is important to note whether they will be working with the beneficiaries or if the inheritors should be protected from their own inexperience and imprudence.

The dispositive provisions of the trust are also important to consider as is the duration of the trust. If the task is as simple as disbursing regular payments to underage beneficiaries until they reach the age of majority, then the task of the trustee is straightforward. Complex bequests that require substantial management, such as mineral rights, a farm or a ranch, will require similar sustained effort from the trustee. It is also necessary to select a trustee who does not have a conflict of interest. They should neither stand to gain from their administration of the trust, with the exception of a reasonable payment for complex and time-consuming work, and they should not be in a position where they would have to compete with the trust and its instruments.

The assistance of a lawyer can be advantageous to those who wish to vet possible trustees and draw up a legally binding contract requiring them to follow the wishes of the will-maker. It is also important to consider the financial needs of the trustee. Even a non-professional trustee will have fees and expenses that must be paid, so drawing up the trust should include provisions for that.

Source: Wealth Management, "Tips From The Pros: The Most Disrespected Decision in Estate Planning", Charles A. Redd, June 24, 2014

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