Should I Appoint an Adult Child as Trustee of my Estate?

McLario, Helm, Bertling, & Spiegel, S.C.

estate tax lawyerSelecting the best person to serve as the trustee of your estate is a decision that requires careful consideration. While an adult child often seems like the obvious choice, there are several things to keep in mind as you are determining what is best for your specific situation.

  • Are they responsible?Has your adult child demonstrated the ability to make wise decisions? While everyone can make a bad choice from time-to-time, it is crucial that the person you choose to act on your behalf has shown that they are able to learn from these moments and modify their behavior accordingly.
  • Are they organized? A trustee is often required to keep track of many details when managing your estate. This might include paperwork, phone calls and even in-person visits. It is vital to select a person who is able to juggle all these tasks and keep careful records.
  • What is their current commitment level? Even if your adult child is responsible and organized, they might not have the time required to oversee your affairs. It is important to understand the limitations of the person you are considering for the role of trustee. Managing your estate should not overshadow the responsibilities they have to their own family and other important commitments.
  • How will this impact the rest of the family? Families often come with unique relationship dynamics. It is imperative to consider how the individual you select will interact with the rest of your family. If they have a history of discord within the family unit, they might not be a good option.
  • Where do they live? While this might not seem like an important consideration, a trustee will be required to sign important documents and get them to the appropriate individuals in a timely manner. They also might need to have physical access to your account. While technology has made this less of an issue, it could help narrow your selection.
  • What is their level of expertise? Knowing how to work through the complexities of a trust is a very important consideration when selecting a trustee. If you do not feel as though your family members have the time or knowledge to handle your affairs, you can hire a trusted third party to oversee your estate.

Do you have questions about creating an estate plan or selecting a trustee? Contact the experts at McLario, Helm, Bertling & Spiegel, to discuss your options.


Contact our Wisconsin estate planning attorneys for assistance in creating a power of attorney directive and an in depth estate plan.
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