Confidently choosing the right trustee for any trust is a difficult and extremely important decision. The decision becomes even more important in the case of choosing the right trustee for the trust you have created to protect your loved one with special needs—particularly if your loved one is a young child. Below are some considerations, as well as the pros and cons of each.
Often, the first natural thought is to choose the people that raised you. After all – if you’re lucky – your parents know and love your children and recognize your wishes for your children. The problem with this solution is often with the fact that this is usually only a temporary solution. For a child with special needs, the trust must protect your loved one with special needs for his or her entire lifetime, and unfortunately, your parents will not be around forever.
Similarly, your siblings may be a good, but also a temporary solution. The same drawback applies here in that your siblings are unlikely to outlast the trust itself, and you will still need a successor trustee.
If You Have Other Children
If you have other children, this option may seem the most logical to many couples because their children know one another well, are roughly the same age, and have often grown up helping to care for their siblings in some way. However, a few things must be considered with this option. First, the role of trustee is a difficult one, leaden with responsibility and fraught with potential liability. Do your other children have the time, willingness, and capacity to serve as trustees? Finally, you need to consider the family dynamics. Would you name all your children as co-trustees, or only one of as sole trustee, and how will this impact the relationship between family members?
A Bank or Trust Company
If family isn’t the right option for you, perhaps another way to go is a bank or trust company. That said, most banks, brokerage houses, and trust companies will only accept large trusts, ranging from a minimum of $300,000 to more than $1,000,000, and many will not accept special needs trusts at all. That said, if you have a special needs trust that meets the institution’s minimum requirements, and the institution’s trust department has an outstanding reputation, this may be a long-term option worth considering.
There are a variety of options, as you can see, each with unique advantages and disadvantages. What works for one family won’t work for another family. For some, the best solution is a combination of one or more options. At the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia, we are here to guide you through the various options and help you choose the trustee, or combination of temporary trustee and successor trustee, best suited to your particular situation and needs.
Contact the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia
To learn more about setting up a special needs trust or to address any other estate planning matter do not hesitate to call the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia at 770-822-2723 or contact us through our website.