Tips for choosing executors or trustees

| Jul 8, 2020 | Estate Planning |

People in Texas who are creating an estate plan might wonder how they should choose an executor or trustee for their will or trust. For example, it should be someone who is likely to outlive the individual creating the will or trust, so both age and health are factors.

Expertise in being an executor or trustee is less important than knowing when to hire expert help if needed. A trustee should be someone who is not reckless in the management of the trust. There should also be backups in case the executor or trustee dies or is unable to perform their duties. Some experts suggest a corporate trustee as a final backup although there can be disadvantages. Corporate trustees can be expensive, and they might be less flexible than individuals. Some people might want to appoint multiple trustees or executors. This can mean that one person is not saddled with all the hard decision-making, but it can backfire if there is conflict between the two. People should focus on what choices will reduce the likelihood of this conflict.

Even once a person has chosen the right executor or trustee, this doesn’t mean that person will always be the right choice. Divorce or other situations could change a person’s relationship with the executor or trustee, and estate planning documents should be reviewed after any life changes.

An attorney might be able to assist a person in preparing estate planning documents, including a will or a trust. They might also help the person determine whether to use a will or a trust as the main estate planning document. For example, the person may want beneficiaries to receive distributions when they reach a certain age or milestone, such as getting married, or they may want distributions to be managed by a trustee.