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Who should I select to be my Executor or Trustee?

This is an important decision.  Sometimes it is best to nominate a family member, but in other instances professionals are better suited.  The most important characteristic is someone you trust, and as long as they have basic financial skills that is generally fine.  There are many criteria to consider when selecting an Executor or Trustee.

The first decision to make is whether to hire a professional or have someone close to you serve.  A professional trustee is most appropriate for either very large or very technical trusts.  When a large sum of money is at stake, more people will watch more closely to see if anything is incorrect.  This can be a terrible burden on an individual, but a professional is equipped and organized to handle it. Professionals also have better resources in which to stay current with changes in the law and financial markets.  The great drawback to professionals is that they are very expensive.  Contact any bank and ask them what they charge for their professional trustee services.  hey will send you a brochure that only a Trust Attorney or CPA could understand.

The short answer – they are very expensive, $300 an hour and UP!  Individuals work fine in most common scenarios, particularly if you are leaving the bulk of your estate to a single person.  In that instance, having that person serve is a natural choice.  Consider several options and talk to that person.  You may be surprised to learn they do not want to serve in that capacity.

You should also consider if you want this person to be bonded.  A bond is an insurance policy so that if the Executor or Trustee makes any mistakes, the insurance company pays the estate back.  The down side to requiring a bond is that the estate pays it for.

Frequently Asked Questions about Estate Planning