How do I choose a trustee for my estate? A trustee is an individual or a financial institution or other entity that takes responsibility for administering a trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries that you name. The duties of a trustee can cover a wide range of services depending on your specific needs. Some of the most popular tasks for a trustee to handle include overseeing property, ensuring that investments are managed properly, paying bills, and making tax payments.

Trustee Responsibilities

Your trustee will have a fiduciary duty to manage the trust on the behalf of you or any other beneficiary, which is why it is important to select the right person for this role. Since trusts are commonly used with the goal of providing for children or other family members with special needs, it is essential to choose a trustee that you can count on in this role. Individuals with special needs, for example, may require extensive help with oversight on their health, education, property and financial management. Trusts can also be used to ensure that a beneficiary who may be a spendthrift will be limited in the amounts he or she can spend.

You need a trustee that is capable of handling your wishes to the best of his or her ability. The job of a trustee is not quick or easy. It could require years of regular engagement with the beneficiaries of your estate. For this reason, it essential to choose carefully. Although the trustee does not need to have advanced financial or legal knowledge, they do need to be someone that you trust implicitly. Closeness to the beneficiaries is another thing to consider.  This makes it easier for the duties of the trustee to be handled without extensive travel and unnecessary expenses.

How to Introduce the Idea of Trust Management

Because administering a trust is a heavy responsibility, it’s a good idea to good idea to have a candid conversation with the trustee about your goals. The trustee needs to be familiar with what is actually being asked of him or her upfront. You may find that the person you originally considered for the job is not interested in handling it.

You might also want to consider hiring a trust company. There can be challenges associated with finding qualified individuals to handle the administration of a trust.  Hiring a trust company alleviates some of these. The major  downside to hiring  a trust company will be the fees for providing the service  but the benefits can often outweigh the costs.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding How Do I Choose a Trustee for My Estate?, or any other estate planning matters, please feel free to contact Stephen L. West at 480.461.5341, or Curtis M. Chipman at 480.461.5329. You can also log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.