Vetting and Selecting a Bank, Corporate Trustee, or Professional Trustee

Jackie Bedard
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Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning

If you're considering naming a Bank, Corporate Trustee, or Professional Trustee to manage your Trust or estate plan, here are sample questions to help you vet and select the right Trustee for your family:

Background

  • How is your trust company arranged (e.g., one person, a staff, part-time help)?
  • If you have a staff, would I work with you or be assigned a case manager?
  • What would the beneficiary have to do to review the records?
  • How many of these trusts are special needs trusts?
  • What services do you provide as trustee (e.g., record keeping, accounting, investments, making distributions)?
  • Are you also willing to serve as executor or durable power of attorney?
  • (If applicable) Do you serve as trustee for special needs trusts?

Investment Management & Decisions

  • How would you decide on appropriate investments for the trust?
  • Can the beneficiary or a trust committee assist in making the investment decisions?
  • What are the qualifications of the financial person who has been hired?
  • How often are the investment decisions reviewed?
  • If a beneficiary wants to review the records of his trust, can he do so?

Set Up Procedure

  • If you were named Trustee (or successor trustee) of this trust, how would we begin the process (e.g., a meeting, a letter, a welcome packet)?
  • Do you set up a budget for distributions?
  • How often is the budget reviewed?

Requesting & Handling Distributions

  • How would a beneficiary contact you to request a distribution?
  • What kind of procedure do you go through in determining whether or not a distribution is warranted?
  • If there is an emergency after normal business hours, is there a way I can contact you?
  • If you are on vacation or otherwise unavailable, who would handle the management of your trust duties?
  • What would happen to your business if you became incapacitated or died? Do you have a succession plan?

Fees

  • How do you charge for your services? What is the fee?
  • What is included in that fee?
  • Is there an additional charge for investment services? How much?
  • Is there an additional charge for tax preparation?
  • Are there any additional charges?

 

Let Us Help You Make the Right Choice

During the Design phase of your planning, our legal team can help guide you through the Trustee selection process, including recommendations for potential Corporate Trustees if you feel that may be a better option for your family. Call us at 919-443-3035 to get started.