Choosing trustees for trusts

Minnesota residents can use a trust to help ensure that their financial legacy will be protected. A trust is also useful for managing inheritance taxes. However, when individuals create a trust, they should make sure that they select the right person to serve as trustee.

The provisions of a trust can be used to dictate how the trust should be managed. For example, provisions can require that distributions from trust assets be issued according to a certain schedule or when the beneficiary has reached a specific age or accomplished a certain milestone. There may also be provisions that explain exactly what the trust assets are intended for, such as to fund a grandchild's education.

The person designated as trustee should have the proficiency to properly handle the responsibilities for which the role entails. It is not unusual for grantors to select someone who is close to their family and who will consider requests for distributions while also keeping in mind the intent in which the trust was created. However, this person may not be fully equipped to handle the legal, fiduciary and administrative duties for which the trustee will be responsible.

Some of the responsibilities of a trustee may include filing notices to creditors, conducting inventories of trust assets, managing investment assets owned by the trust and issuing periodic statements. If the trustee fails to properly administer the assets, they can be held legally liable for not fulfilling their duties.

An estate planning attorney may advise clients about how the different types of trusts could be used to protect their financial assets for their heirs. Assistance may be provided for creating a trust, drafting provisions and selecting a trustee. The attorney might also provide other estate planning services, such as assisting with wills or litigating to resolve disputes regarding probate issues.

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