I have had a law practice focused on trusts, estates and probate since 1994. I have been involved with some thousands of wills, trusts, and probates during that time. I am not yet aware of a professional, third party, fiduciary stealing, making errors or generally causing trouble in the administration of a trust or estate. The same can not be said for using family as executors and trustees.
The combination of death and money can create monsters! It must be human nature because I have seen it happen to “the best guy” and to people “that get along great.” I have seen good people and bad people steal, make major errors and more generally cause trouble.
As an estate planning attorney my job is to help plan so your family dos not have problems after your death. The longer I do estate planning the more I frequently do I recommend professional fiduciaries. They do not bring the personal and emotional issues to the table. For them it’s a JOB! They take it seriously and do it well!
When looking beyond family and friends for an executor or trustee I normally consider the following options:
Bank or trust department – Pretty much all national banks and stock brokerage companies have trust departments.
Private Professional Fiduciaries – A growing profession is licensed individuals who specialize in serving as administrators, trustees and conservators.
Certified Public Accountants – Great with numbers they often are a great choice to serve as a trustee. However, if they do tax work they can become difficult to reach from March 1 until April 16th!
Attorneys – Like CPAs, attorneys have a license to protect. They also understand a fiduciary duty and conflicts of interest.
In my opinion these are the main options beyond family and friends. Any of the above can be bonded to provide a little extra security to your loved ones. By utilizing one of these people in your estate plan you decrease the chances of there being problems in the administration of your will or trust!
Contact me to discuss what option would be best for you and your family! -John