Orsbon & Fenninger, LLP

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How to pick the right successor trustee

A living trust can provide many benefits to North Carolina residents. Part of creating such a trust is naming a trustee. While this may seem like an easy thing to do, it does require some thought and planning. In many cases, the person who creates a trust will be the trustee. If the settlor is married, both spouses may be named co-trustees.

It may be beneficial to name a successor trustee in the event that both spouses pass away. Typically, this person will be a child or a friend. It may also be a fiduciary or a financial institution. Naming a child as a successor trustee may be ideal because a son or daughter may best understand a parent's wishes. If desired, multiple children may be named to act as successor trustees.

Naming a fiduciary or financial institution to be a trustee may be ideal as they rely on protocol as opposed to emotion to make decisions. The one downside is that they may charge a higher fee to provide services. While a friend may be paid a fee to act as a trustee, it may be easier to negotiate an amount both sides are comfortable with. Ultimately, an individual will have to choose who is most trustworthy when it comes to fulfilling his or her wishes.

For most people, the best time to begin estate planning is when there are assets to protect. The use of a living trust may give an individual or a married couple more control over money or other assets both during life and after passing on. Depending on the type of trust created, its terms may be altered at any time or completely revoked if it is no longer useful.

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