Creating a comprehensive estate plan usually entails incorporating a variety of documents and strategies into one cohesive plan. Though your Last Will and Testament will undoubtedly be part of your estate plan, it will likely not be the sum total of your plan. In fact, it may not even be the most important part of your plan. For many people, a trust agreement actually serves as the focal point of their estate plan. If you are planning to depend on a trust in your estate plan you will need to make a number of important decisions with regard to the trust, such as should you use a corporate Trustee? Ultimately, you will need to make that decision after consulting with your Illinois estate planning attorney; however, a better understanding of what your Trustee’s duties and responsibilities will be may help you make the decision.
People often make the mistake of simply appointing a spouse, adult child, or parent to be the Trustee of a trust without actually stopping to consider if the individual is qualified to act as the Trustee. To know if someone is qualified you need to know what the position entails. A Trustee’s duties include, but are not limited to:
Managing trust assets
Investing trust assets
Communicating with beneficiaries about trust business
Disbursing trust assets as required in the trust terms
Following the terms of the trust
Keeping detailed trust records
Preparing and filing taxes each year
Understanding and abiding by all laws that impact the trust
As you can see, many of the duties and responsibilities of a Trustee require a certain degree of experience, knowledge, and or skill. A Trustee who does not have the necessary experienced could effectively cause the trust to fail, regardless of the Trustee’s best intentions. For all of these reasons, it only makes sense to consider a professional Trustee when you set up a trust. Not only will a professional Trustee have the requisite background and experience, but appointing a professional Trustee eliminates the possibility of conflicts of interest that all too often occur when a family member is appointed as the Trustee of a trust.
If you have additional questions or concerns about trust creation or administration, or your Illinois estate plan in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash, Nash, Bean & Ford, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
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