As you begin the process of administering a loved one’s trust, you may discover that the trust document grants you the authority to appoint a co-trustee to assist you in carrying out your responsibilities. In some cases, two heads can prove to be better than one. However, it is important to make this decision carefully, as there can be downsides to adding a co-trustee as well. An experienced attorney can assist you in weighing the pros and cons before you proceed.
Reasons to Consider Adding a Co-Trustee
Adding a co-trustee can be an advantage during the trust administration process for the following reasons:
- It can allow you to combine the strengths of two people in order to give the trust access to all of the skills that are necessary for a good trustee. If you are weak in one area, such as making financial decisions, you can bring in a co-trustee with a strong background in this area to complement the skills that you bring to the table.
- It may give you a much-needed sounding board. Making decisions is not always easy during the trust administration process. Having a partner to help you think through these decisions could alleviate some of the burden of the role.
- It may serve as a form of check and balance. Perhaps without even intending, you may have made decisions that weren’t in the best interest of the trust or beneficiaries. Having a co-trustee serve alongside you may reduce the risk of this happening. This also happens to reduce your risk of personal liability that you may otherwise be exposed to if you were to make poor trust administration decisions.
Of course, adding a co-trustee is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Co-trustees can face great difficulty administering a trust if they reach a deadlock on a particular decision and the trust does not provide a method for breaking the tie, such as giving one trustee ultimate decision-making ability.
Before taking action during a trust administration, we highly recommend seeking assistance from an experienced attorney. We are here to help. We encourage you to contact us today at (888) 443-6590 for more information.
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AttorneyThe Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307