Irrevocable Trusts Part 3: Do I Need to Appoint a Trustee?


An irrevocable trust like any trust needs to appoint a trustee. The trustee’s job is to administer the terms of the trust for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. The appointment of a trustee is a critical one for the protection of the trust and its beneficiaries. Ideally, I tell my clients that they appoint a trustee who is well versed in financial matters because that is what a trustee does.

The trustee handles money, invests it, and distributes it to the trust beneficiaries. In some circumstances, my clients have asked whether multiple family members can serve as co-trustees, acting together. While that is certainly possible, and sometimes advisable, more often my clients are just appointing one family member as a trustee. In some cases, clients can benefit from having an independent trust company serve as the trustee of the trust.

For example, if it’s a special needs trust, which is a complicated trust involving federal and state Medicaid and Social Security laws, it’s likely that an independent trust company would be better versed in those specific laws and do a better job of managing the trust rather than a family member who has not been exposed to those various government benefit programs.

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