Most of those called on to serve as trust administrators feel honored to accept such a role. However, some of them do not understand the full extent of their responsibilities. Further, many trust administrators or trustees are ill-prepared for the scrutiny they might receive from your surviving family members.
Those you leave behind after your death rightfully have an interest in how your chosen administrator fulfills their duties, which include:
- Protecting or investing trust assets
- Distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries
- Correctly interpreting your written trust instructions
On top of these responsibilities, your trustee must avoid violating their fiduciary duties and breaking Virginia trust laws.
Your surviving family can unknowingly cause problems
If your family worries that your trustee may violate their duties, they can make things hard on the administrator. Your family probably will not mean any harm—they just want to make sure your wishes remain protected. Some examples of the hardships many trustees face include:
- Mismanagement interference from heirs
- Demands for disbursements from beneficiaries
- Constant calls (well-meant, but disruptive) from heirs
- Disagreements about your trustee’s interpretation of your intent
It is wise to make sure your chosen trust administrator has skin thick enough to withstand the scrutiny of your surviving family. You should also ensure that your selection has the time to serve as a trustee and is fit enough to fulfill their duties.
Another way to help your family worry less about your estate is to use a legal professional to administer your trusts. Most bereaved family members feel secure when someone that understands how Arlington trust administration works is in charge. Familiarizing yourself with estate planning laws can also help you select the ideal trustee.