Should I Appoint Co-Trustees?
For many people, a comprehensive estate plan includes one or more trusts. Trusts offer numerous
advantages such as flexibility, control and both tax and probate avoidance in some cases. Although there
are a wide variety of trusts that you can choose from when you decide to create a trust, all trusts require
the same basic elements to start—a beneficiary, a trustee and funds. When deciding who to appoint as
trustee, you may consider appointing co-trustees, but is this really a wise idea? Although only you can
make that decision, there are some things you may wish to consider before making the decision.
Estate planning rules generally allow you to name anyone you wish as trustee and do not limit you to
naming just one trustee. For this reason, people often consider naming more than one trustee. If, for
example, you have more than one child you may be concerned that naming one child as trustee will
create a family rift. While naming two children may prevent this, it can lead to conflict within the trust
itself. When there are two trustees that cannot agree with eachother, important decisions could end up
in a deadlock. If you feel that it is important to include more than one trustee in your trust, consider
naming three instead of two so that decisions can be made by a majority vote. Or appoint a trust
advisor,someone who is independent and can be called upon to break a tie vote and perform numerous
other functions where independence is desired. This is also referred to as a special trustee.
Of course, another option is simply to appoint one neutral trustee instead of involving family members.
This could be an attorney or a professional trustee. By appointing a neutral trustee, not only do you
avoid creating conflict within the family, but you have someone who is not emotionally interested in the
outcome of trust decisions overseeing those decisions. This avoids both conflict within the family and a
conflict of interest with any decisions made regarding the trust itself. Be sure to talk to your estate
planning attorney before you make a decision regarding who to appoint as the trustee, or co-trustees, of
Experienced estate planning attorneys Roseville CA of the John Rogers Burk, A Law Corporation offers
estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Roseville CA. To learn more about these
free resources, please visit www.roseville-estate-planning.com/ today.