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The pros and cons of having co-trustees

On Behalf of | May 20, 2023 | Trusts

You’re a Reston grantor in the middle of creating a trust and are considering appointing a trustee. Because trustees have to deal with responsibilities like acting as a fiduciary, communicating with beneficiaries and trust administration, you feel those are too much for one person to handle.

Therefore, you’re wondering if appointing two or more trustees is a good idea. Let’s weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Pros of co-trustees

There are a few benefits to having more than one trustee:

-Appointing two or more trustees provide a backup for unexpected events: Suppose one trustee is incapacitated or leaves the country. The other trustee can pick up where the previous one left off.

-Multiple trustees can combine their complementary skills to manage your trust: Many co-trustees possess different skills that help them handle a trust better when put together. For example, one person might be good with managing and increasing assets, and the other might do well with administrative tasks and organization. 

-It can prevent favoritism: If a grantor has more than one adult child, they might select the oldest (or the child sharing similar personality traits). Putting all your children in charge of your trust can help them feel like equals and keep family tensions at bay.

Cons of co-trustees

Selecting multiple trustees has its downsides, too.

-Co-trustees might not always be able to work well together: If co-trustees constantly break into arguments, they might leave, and you would have to start back at square one in the trustee selection process.

-They can unintentionally mismanage your trust if they’re not on the same page: Some co-trustees neglect or lose assets due to miscommunication issues.

Take care when selecting co-trustees since they’re the ones who will be liable for distributing assets to your beneficiaries. Consider reaching out to experienced legal guidance to help you explore your options.