How to Find and Hire the Right Trustee for a Special Needs Trust
Choosing a trustee for a special needs trust is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. Here are some tips on how to pick the right trustee for your loved one:
Trustworthiness: Look for someone who is trustworthy and has a good reputation. The trustee will be responsible for managing the trust assets, paying bills, and making distributions for your loved one's benefit.
Financial skills: The trustee should have good financial skills, including the ability to manage investments and make sound financial decisions.
Understanding of special needs: It is essential to choose someone who understands the unique needs and challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. This includes being knowledgeable about government benefits and programs that may be available to the beneficiary.
Availability: The trustee should be available to meet the ongoing needs of the trust and the beneficiary. This includes being responsive to requests for distributions, monitoring investments, and handling administrative tasks.
Family dynamics: Consider the dynamics of your family when choosing a trustee. You may want to avoid appointing a family member if there is a risk of conflict or if they may be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the role.
Backup plan: It is also important to have a backup plan in case the trustee is unable or unwilling to continue in their role. This could involve appointing a co-trustee or naming a successor trustee in the trust document.
Overall, it is important to take the time to carefully consider your options and choose a trustee who can provide the support and guidance needed to protect your loved one's best interests. It is helpful to consult with a special needs attorney to help you make this decision.
In general, any business that is authorized to act as a trustee can serve as a trustee of a special needs trust. However, that does not mean that they will act. You should specifically address the organizations experience administering special needs and supplemental needs trusts, and whether they ever decline to serve in situations like yours. This includes banks, trust companies, and professional fiduciaries. Some businesses that offer special needs planning services, such as financial planning firms or elder law firms, may also act as trustees. Please note, Emily R. Taylor, Attorney PLLC will not accept appointment or act as a Trustee.
When selecting a business to act as trustee, it is important to consider their experience in administering special needs trusts and their understanding of the unique needs of individuals with disabilities. Additionally, it is important to review the fees and costs associated with the services provided by the business and ensure that they are reasonable.
When interviewing a potential trustee for your loved one's special needs trust, here are some important questions to ask:
What experience do you have managing special needs trusts?
What is your understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by individuals with disabilities?
How will you ensure that my loved one's best interests are protected when making decisions about trust distributions and investments?
What is your investment strategy for the trust assets, and how will you ensure that the investments are aligned with the goals of the trust?
What are your fees for serving as trustee, and how are they structured?
How will you communicate with me and my loved one about the trust and its administration?
What is your process for making distributions from the trust, and how will you ensure that they comply with government benefit rules and regulations?
How will you handle disputes or conflicts that may arise among the beneficiaries or their family members?
Can you provide references from previous clientss?
What is your plan for ensuring that a successor trustee is in place in case you are no longer able to serve as trustee?
Overall, it is important to select a trustee who has the expertise, experience, and knowledge to manage the trust assets and make decisions that align with the goals of the trust and the needs of the beneficiary.