An article covering the options and considerations for appointing an independent professional fiduciary as trustee of an estate, written by J. Christopher, Esq. of Toews Law Group, Inc. was recently published in Trusts and Estates Quarterly, a publication of the California Lawyers Association. “The choice of a person or organization to execute the client’s estate plan when the time comes is critical to the process,” writes Toews in the article, “Use of Independent Professional Trustees in Estate Plans.”
The article covers in-depth considerations for:
- Family members as trustees—There are many factors to consider before appointing a relative as trustee, including the family members willingness and ability to take on the responsibility, family dynamics that may create conflicts of interest, sibling rivalries, and other relationship issues such as blended families.
- Who makes a good trustee—Toews evaluates the changing role of banks, trust companies, accountants, lawyers and financial advisors as estate trustees as well as California’s emerging Licensed Professional Fiduciaries. The Professional Fiduciaries Act, enacted in 2006 and beginning in 2009 requires “licensing of individuals who serve as private professional trustees.” The requirements for licensing include educational and experience qualifications, passing a background check and passing a licensing exam.
- Factors to consider when appointing a professional trustee—Toews, the San Luis Obispo estate planning attorney, discusses the benefits of paying fees for a professional trustee over the thought that not designating a professional might save the estate some money. A professional trustee can bring a breadth of experience to any number of legal matters and disputes that can arise over settling an estate. Toews explains that “the fees charged by professional trustees are usually not huge when viewed as a percentage of the total estate.” The peace of mind gained by problems can be professionally resolved far outweighs any nominal savings that may be gained otherwise.
- Alternative arrangements and considerations—The article examines the professional as an agent for a family member trustee, provisions that should be in estate plan documents, optional appointments by family members and nominating a professional as first successor trustee.
An appendix includes samples of agreement and nomination forms.
A reprint of “Use of Independent Professional Trustees in Estate Plans” is available on the Toews Law Group, Inc. website.
Toews Law Group, Inc. of San Luis Obispo offers estate planning services provide clients with peace of mind and documents needed to avoid unnecessary and prolonged probate, makes sure assets are transferred in an effective and efficient manner according to your wishes and your health, medical care and finances are handled in trustworthy manners in the event you are incapacitated or following your demise.
Christopher Toews began his legal career in 1968 when he moved to New York City and worked at a few firms over the next decade. A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Law, Chris has worked in a wide range of legal fields including business law, estate planning, non-profit, probate and taxation. In addition to his extensive work and experience as a lawyer, Chris has written articles for the American Bar Association, the “Trusts and Estates Quarterly,” and lectures on business, estate planning and tax issues. Chris is a licensed pilot and holds a commercial pilot certificate. When not working with his clients, he enjoys riding his motorcycle and playing classical and jazz piano.
This information has been prepared by Toews Law Group, Inc. for informational purposes only and is not legal or tax advice. The transmission of this information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
Toews Law Group, Inc.
1212 Marsh Street, Suite 3
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401