two business women looking at papers in office

Milford Trust Lawyer Warns: “Be Careful When Naming Co-Trustees”

  • By Steven Rubin
  • |
  • Posted March 10, 2023

A living trust is a valuable tool in estate planning. You can manage it while you’re alive while passing control of your affairs to someone else upon your incapacity or death. The assets in the trust can also avoid probate, allowing successor trustees immediate access to the funds they need without going through a long, drawn-out court process.

Successor trustees must be chosen wisely, as they will be called upon to administer the trust according to your wishes. They can also use assets held in the trust to cover medical and financial expenses if you’re incapacitated and unable to make decisions. It should be someone you trust and know will maintain your interests.

Appointing Adult Children as Co-Trustees

People often choose an adult child as a successor trustee during estate planning services. If you have more than one child, naming each of them as co-trustees might seem to make sense because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause disputes among them when you die.

However, you should consider whether designating more than one of your children as a trustee is risky. It might lead to administration problems. They must be able to work together while selling property, signing checks, preparing paperwork, and making important decisions. It can slow down the process if they live far apart or disagree on anything.

Problems Adult Children Face as Co-Trustees

Legal issues can arise if multiple adult children serve as co-trustees. Even if they get along and work well together, taking on the role of trustee upon a parent’s death is emotionally and mentally draining. It’s a stressful situation for anyone to deal with. Disagreements are likely while your children are settling your estate and dealing with various responsibilities.

Your trust should dictate how your successor co-trustees should handle disputes over administering the trust. You can include specific solutions to settling disagreements. That might involve going to court for a judge to decide on the legal matter. However, avoiding litigating is crucial. It should only be a last resort if your children can’t resolve the matter themselves.

Managing your trust is more challenging if one of your children is local and the other lives in another state or country. Typically, the burden falls on the child living near you. They often take on more of the responsibility when the parent dies. They might have trouble getting in touch with their siblings if they’re in different time zones and have conflicting schedules. It creates unnecessary stress and delays in distributing the assets held in trust. We provide trust administration services in Connecticut and beyond.

Benefits of Naming Only One Successor Trustee

The best option while establishing a trust might be to name only one of your adult children as successor trustee. You can sit down with your family to explain your decision. It’s important to do this in such a way that your other kids don’t feel left out or viewed as irresponsible or untrustworthy. Instead, explain that your decision to name one successor trustee can benefit everyone, as it will make the process of administering the trust simpler and prevent disputes since only one person is responsible for the task.

Get Help Appointing Co-Trustees for Your Trust

Establishing a living trust requires assistance from an experienced Milford trust lawyer. You can avoid tension among your children and ugly courtroom battles if you plan carefully. We can help you name the appropriate successor trustee or co-trustees to manage your assets and ensure they fulfill your final wishes.

Contact us today to learn about your options and the methods for protecting your assets and family with a well-executed living trust. Call 203-877-7511 to schedule a consultation.

Contact our trust and estate planning lawyers located in Milford and Harford, Connecticut.