Hi. Lee Phillips here. I’m an attorney don’t hold that against me and I want to talk to you a minute about the considerations that you need to take into account when you name a trustee. That’s the guy who’s going to take over after you, mom, dad, die who’s going to manage the trust? and for most people if you’re trying to avoid probate with the trust the trust is going to be the totality of your estate. and then the trust is going to be distributed by by this successor trustee down to the beneficiaries. So who do you name as the successor trustee? If mom and dad are alive they’re going to be joint trustees. That’s fine. Mom dies, dad’s going to be the remaining trustee. He usually controls the whole thing. But when Dad dies we’ve got to have somebody else. We’ve got to have a successor trustee. And usually you name one of the kids. Now in the old days you always named the bank and the lawyer may want you to name the bank. The lawyer and the bank they get together and they refer clients back and forth to each other. In the old days the banks used to be First Cheatem and Howe Bank and Trust Company And in the 80s they decided that trusts, that’s for rich people. We don’t want to be tag as being only for rich people. So we’re going to drop the “trust” and now it’s just First Cheatem and Howe. So then I’ll have “and trust” But the banks still are trust companies. They will act as the successor trustee. Now that’s not a good idea in my opinion and I’ve done it several times when I’ve written trusts for people there are appropriate circumstances but usually if the family’s going to get along, everybody’s going to be happy, we’re going to name a kid. I mean the kid’s not a kid kid. He’s a 50, 60 year old man when dad dies. Or is a 50, 60 year old daughter. What are the considerations in which kid you pick? You always pick the oldest one. Well, no. Not necessarily. We’re going to pick the kid who has
decent business sense. I mean, if the guy is a spendthrift you don’t want your son being the trustee if he can’t keep a dime for 15 minutes We’re going to pick a kid who’s local. They’re going to have to interact with the locals. They’re going to have to shut down the bank accounts they’re going to have to rehab the property get it ready, fixed up, cleaned out, ready to go sell it. So being local is important in that they interact. Now could somebody do it from a distance? Yeah they can do that and it isn’t unusual to have John who’s the brilliant businessman and Joe who’s the local. Great guy. Not very good at business. But Joe can help be the legs on the ground locally and be directed by the trustee so that kind of works too. So good business guy, local. Are they fair? Are they going to get along with the other kids? That’s a consideration too because this guy is going to have to wrap up
mom and dad’s affairs. They’re going to have to distribute the estate, divide it out mom and dad wanted equally to all the kids so they’re going to have to be able to get along with the kids to some degree. They’re going to have to be transparent. They have a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries and so they need to be able to explain things to the other kids. So good business guy, local, fair, what else do we need in a trustee? Not a lot, in a sense. Although the better the trustee is at managing things the better off you are going to be having them be the successor trustee. They’re going to manage all the property in some cases mom and dad have a lot of real estate. Why sell the real estate? The trustee can manage it for decades. It makes a good cash flow. He can divide up the profits, the cash flow,
with the other kids. The kid gets income every year maybe we don’t want to liquidate
the real estate, get rid of it. These are the decisions that the
trustee will have to make. And if you sit down with the successor trustee and kind of explain maybe what you want to do as long as it’s within what the trustee is supposed to be doing they can follow your directions and then kind of know what mom dad wanted to happen with their estate. So the successor trustee is an important choice. Can you have more than one trustee? Could we we have all of the kids be trustees? Well yeah, but you don’t get a lot done with a committee. so maybe John who is out of town and Joe could be joint trustees. Or Mary, who is absolutely fair will take care of everything she can and compassionate with the kids she can be a co-trustee with John who is the great businessman and so you know you can mix it up that way and have I wouldn’t put more than two as joint trustees. Yeah, I’ve written a trust where maybe three were but I kind of argue against that just because it’s hard to get anything done with a committee. So pick your trustees usually you pick somebody in the family Blood’s pretty thick. yeah I’ve seen a lot of best friends and stuff but best friends tend to go away
the blood hangs around a long time This is Lee Phillips talking about choosing your successor trustee.