You might be surprised to learn that your trust may need professionals to help manage it. For example, you might have picked an inexperienced family member as trustee or selected someone with experience in only one area. Or maybe you are the trustee and you have found yourself in over your head with the trust management. In any case, trustees can employ professionals to help manage certain aspects of trusts.
Why Might You Need a Professional’s Help?
Trustees find that they need professional assistance in many different circumstances:
- They need help doing the trust’s taxes
- They do not have the knowledge needed to prudently invest trust assets
- They do not understand or need interpretation of language in the trust document
- They have questions about how to make distributions to the beneficiaries
- They need someone to help take care of or manage an asset (such as valuable art or an apartment building)
Non-professional trustees such as friends or family members often do not have the expertise needed to fulfill their duties completely. The same may be true of professional trustees such as banks and lawyers, if the trust holds any unusual kinds of asset. Professionals step in to provide this missing knowledge and expertise.
Does the Trust Have to Pay Professionals?
Yes, the trust usually pays professionals reasonable fees for their services. Note that the money does not come out of the trustee or the trust creator’s pocket – it comes from the trust itself. As a result, using costly professionals can end up greatly reducing the value of the trust over time. The beneficiaries lose out when trust administration costs are high. When creating a trust and choosing a trustee, consider the costs if the trustee has to use professionals to complete required fiduciary duties.
How Do You Find a Professional?
Your trustee can speak to the lawyer who prepared the trust document for recommendations, talk to local financial institutions, or reach out to his or her network. Ultimately the trustee, not the trust creator, should choose which professionals to use.
Want to start planning your estate? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.