I recently posted about the different types of trusts one might consider when estate planning.  The next major decision to make after starting a trust is selecting someone to manage it.  However, you might not have someone in your life that you have faith in to manage such an important matter properly.  Not only that, perhaps you are concerned about conflicts of interest arising among family members if you select one to be a trustee.

There is an alternative: using a bank as your trustee.  Using a bank can have many advantages and can offer peace of mind regarding your estate.  Here are some reasons to include a bank trustee in your considerations:

Experience & Background

  • Can prevent inefficient or bad management
  • Know how to handle different types of assets
  • Understanding of financial market, up-to-date on its fluctuations
  • Knowledge of specific investment strategies that others aren’t aware of or cannot access
  • Bank staff are constantly updating skills & education through training on federal, state, and local tax laws

Avoiding Conflicts of Interest and Divisive Family Issues

  • Not motivated by personal desires
  • Example: If you have a sibling as both guardian of your children and trustee, the decisions made could create a major family rift, whereas a bank trustee would not put your sibling in that compromising situation
  • Appropriate fees: what an individual trustee might consider a “reasonable” fee for management could be more than expected, and he or she might pay outside services to perform tasks such as annual income tax returns
  • Protection against misappropriation: Not all trustees, even if it’s a close family member, turn out to be honest.  If they steal money, your beneficiaries might not get it back.  This is less likely to happen at a bank, but even if there is a dishonest trust officer, a bank can make good on the losses incurred.

Reliability & Protection

  • A bank will always have staff, so your funds will always be managed and have continuity
  • Regulated by federal and state agencies
  • Regular review of practices and procedures to ensure that they are in your best interest
  • Protected by insurance policies and the bank’s capital

Please know that my office can help with this and the many other important decisions that have to be made in the estate planning process.  I am happy to sit down and talk with you about your needs and goals during a free consultation.

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