Creating a trust is a way to reduce the taxable amount of your estate, retain control over your legacy or even diminish the value of your personal assets so that you can qualify for government assistance as you age.
One of the most critical aspects of creating a trust, other than funding it properly, will involve naming a trustee to manage the assets in the trust. How do you pick the right person to be the trustee?
Should you be a trustee?
If you place your house or retirement assets into a trust to ensure you can qualify for Medicaid or reduce the likelihood of creditors coming after your assets, you will likely want to keep control over those assets. You can choose to name more than one trustee in a situation like this.
You or your spouse can serve as one of the trustees so that you have access to and control over the resources you use to fund the trust. However, naming another individual is usually a good decision so that control of the trust can move automatically to that other party when you aren’t able to administer the trust anymore.
Who in your life deserves a position of trust and authority?
It can be hard to decide the best person to name as trustee when going through your assets and trying to make a viable plan. Generally, picking someone that you believe to be honest and intelligent is a good decision. You also want them to be healthy and probably younger than you by at least a generation.
Honesty is important because a trustee could manipulate records or otherwise do damage to the trust for their personal gain if you name the wrong person. Intelligence is also important, as the trustee will have to evaluate claims from beneficiaries and make good decisions about how they manage the assets and in the trust.
Talking about your shortlist of candidates with the attorney helping you to set up the trust can give you further insight on who to select for this important position.