How to choose a trustee

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Q. I’m debating about making my daughter the trustee for a trust for her nephews – my grandsons – because I don’t trust their mother with money. Or should I arrange for an outside company to do it? I’m thinking in terms of who decides when distributions are made.
— Unsure

A. When it comes to money and family, things can get ugly. But this is your money, and you have every right to decide what happens to it when you’re gone.

When deciding who to use as a trustee for a trust, it is best to use common sense, said Bill Connington of Connington Wealth Management in Fairfield.

He said he’s not a big advocate of using an outside company to handle trust management.

Instead, he said, you need to decide who you trust to carry out your wishes.

“There must be someone in your family who is qualified and responsible enough to act as trustee,” he said. “Name that person and then talk about it with everyone. Tell everyone why you’ve selected the person and what you expect of everyone.”

If you plan on leaving certain assets to one particular person, tell everyone now and tell them why, he said. This will reduce — but not necessarily eliminate — the disagreements.

While you may not want to have a confrontational situation come up surrounding the trust, if you wait until you die for everyone to find out what you’ve arranged, it will probably be worse. And they will no longer be able to ask questions to better understand your intentions.

Remember — it is your money and your wishes.

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This post was first published in November 2017. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.