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Tips for choosing a trustee

Some people in Georgia who are creating an estate plan might want to consider using a trust. A trust can offer a number of benefits, including protecting assets in case of a divorce or against creditors. Shares from a family business can be placed in a trust where they can provide income to beneficiaries without giving them voting rights. Instead, the trustee has voting rights, and this can prevent beneficiaries from voting only in their own self-interest.

What can be difficult about trusts is choosing the right trustee. Many people default to appointing a spouse or an adult child, but there are disadvantages with both of these choices. A spouse is likely to be near the grantor's age and may become incapacitated or die soon as well. Alternately, a spouse might remarry and make provisions for the new family but not the previous one. Appointing a spouse can create particular problems in blended families since there could be tension or even litigation between that spouse and the children from a previous relationship. Appointing children can raise similar issues, and both spouses and children may be vulnerable to undue influence.

Appointing a professional may be a better solution. A trust can be designed to give family members some control while having a corporate trustee manage it and assume liability.

An attorney may be able to assist a person in estate planning, including creating a trust, a will and other necessary documents. Some people may want to create what is sometimes called a "pour over will." This places any additional assets in the trust that the person did not explicitly put there before death. Other documents a person may need include powers of attorney for finance and healthcare. These estate planning tools appoint people to manage money and healthcare if the person is incapacitated.

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