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The potential problems of co-trustee situations

Trusts can be used for a range of different things in an estate plan. Whatever goal a trust is being aimed at, when setting up a trust, it can be critical to exercise proper care when picking who to name as trustee. The trustee administers the trust and manages the property put in it, and thus can play a very big role in how the trust ends up going and how well it serves its intended purposes.

One thing a person may wonder when picking a trustee is whether they can name two or more people to be trustees of the trust together. A trust is generally allowed to have multiple trustees simultaneously, so a person could chose to have their trust have co-trustees.

However, a trust having co-trustees can sometimes create difficulties when it comes to the trust’s operation. Even people who work together very well sometimes get into disagreements. And, when co-trustees get into disagreements over issues related to the trust’s management, it could lead to delays in important decisions regarding the trust being made. This could get in the way of the trust operating efficiently and could potentially impair its abilities regarding achieving its intended goals.

As this underscores, what a person ends up deciding when it comes to naming a trustee (such as whether they will have the trust run by just one trustee or multiple trustees simultaneously) could have big impacts on how well the trust ultimately functions. So, when making decisions regarding naming a trustee, it can be important for a person to carefully think about what impacts the various options they are considering could have and which of the options would be most consistent with their trust goals. Estate planning lawyers can advise individuals who want a trust in their estate plan on the various impactful issues related to trust formation, including issues related to trustee selection.

Source: The Street, “5 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Make,” Jason Notte, July 13, 2015

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