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Consider Non-Family Member as Successor Trustee

One of the most important decisions a baseball manager must make is his batting order – it can mean the difference between a win or loss.  (We will not digress to the Marlin’s management decisions – although this is tempting.)

One of the most important decisions you can make for your estate plan is your batting order of successor trustees:  who do you want to step up to the plate for you if you cannot?  It is important to place in position those persons in whom you have complete trust.   Your successor trustee is charged with managing your financial affairs.   This person is a fiduciary, and therefore under the law has a high fiduciary duty to follow your trust instructions exactly, pay all taxes on time,  keep a good accounting of all monies coming in and going out – these are just a few of the many tasks.  For a good summary of successor Trustee duties see our report: 12 Point Summary of Florida Successor Trustee Duties.

Many persons prefer to name a family member as a successor trustee – such as an older child.   However, this position can sometimes cause conflict and disharmony in the family – especially when the older child must make discretionary decisions about distributions of trust funds to the other children.

These conflicts can be avoided by naming a non-family member who can be an individual or corporate trustee.  Corporate trustees (such as Coral Gables Trust,  Northern Trust or SunTrust) are generally viable options for large estates of $5 million or more.  For estates less than this, you may wish to consider an individual who could be your CPA, attorney, or other licensed professional.

For non-family successor trustees, we typically recommend a CPA or trust attorney.  Both Jay Beskin and  I are available to act as successor trustee  – we have served in this capacity for multiple families.   As Miami trust attorneys, we and our staff have many years of consulting and administering estates and trusts; we are confident we can provide efficient trust administration in a cost-effective way.

Do you know your batting order – the order of succession for your trustees?  Will your order of succession work or cause disharmony in the family if you are disabled or die?  If you would like to review your trustee succession with us, we can offer a free consultation. Simply call Christy at (305) 556-5209.

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced Miami trust attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

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