Creating a trust is a process that requires extensive planning. First, someone has to set their goals and choose the right type of trust based on their needs. The person creating the trust will need to transfer assets to fund the trust and provide detailed instructions about how to maintain and distribute those resources.
The right terms and appropriate funding will make all the difference for a trust. The individual selected as trustee will also have a major impact on trust administration. It will be their job to communicate with beneficiaries, distribute resources and preserve what someone has used to fund the trust. Appointing the wrong person might mean that the trust will be placed at risk of significant losses and of becoming a source of conflict in the future. As a result, the following personal characteristics should generally influence who someone chooses to serve as a trustee of their assets.
Perhaps the most important character trait for someone tasked with trust administration will be fastidiousness. The person creating the trust needs to know that the person they have selected is capable of following their instructions and of following through on their obligations instead of procrastinating. Someone who can maintain a job and is detail-oriented will likely be capable of administering a trust.
Age and health
Choosing a trustee who is the same age or older than the person creating the trust might not be the best strategy. Someone who is old enough to be responsible yet young enough to have many decades of functional ability ahead of them would be an ideal candidate. Their overall health will also be a consideration.
Trust administration often requires having difficult conversations with beneficiaries. It also requires that someone set aside their personal wishes and biases to follow the trust documents as closely as possible. Trustees who let their emotions get the better of them during difficult times and who struggle to communicate effectively with others may have a difficult time performing the job even if they would otherwise be an ideal candidate.
Some people choose a trustee they know, while others hire a professional fiduciary. Taking the time to really consider individual candidates can help someone select a trustee capable of managing and distributing trust resources effectively.