June 10, 2021
Corporate fiduciaries bring experience, expertise, professionalism, and objectivity to the jobs of trusteeship and estate settlement. Continuity of service is another advantage. Although there may be employee turnover, and the banking industry has experienced a series of acquisitions and mergers, a trust division doesn’t take vacations, get sick, or move out of state. Corporate fiduciaries are regulated and bonded.
Interview a handful of candidates before deciding upon a corporate fiduciary.
Sample questions include:
• What services will be performed?
• What services will not be performed?
• Are distribution requests handled by an individual or by a committee?
• How long does it usually take to decide on a request for a discretionary distribution?
• At what asset level would the trustee terminate the trust and distribute the assets outright?
• Will specific language need to be included in the trust document?
If there is trouble deciding between an individual or a corporate trustee, it may be possible to have multiple fiduciaries, a sort of “best of both worlds.” However, someone needs to be in charge, and that should be made plain in the estate plan. Don’t overlook the importance of planning for the selection of a successor trustee, perhaps through the appointment of a trust protector.