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Why Choose Co-trustees?

When sitting down to consider your estate planning options in Woodland Hills, you might want to keep the idea of managing your assets through a trust towards the front of your mind. This will hopefully ensure their wise management for the benefit of your beneficiaries (or yourself, should you become incapacitated). One question then looms: Who should you choose to be your trustee? You can always go with a bank or legal firm, yet such a decision will likely cost more than having a family member or trusted friend fill the role. It is for this reason why many choose to keep their trustees in the family. Yet when doing so, some say it might be wiser to name a team of co-trustees.

Why would you name co-trustees? The most obvious advantage is that it eliminates ideas of favoritism. Spreading the responsibility of managing your assets between your children or between them and your spouse allows all of them to have a say in how those assets are utilized. The California Probate Code ensures such, as it says in Section 15620 that any powers vested in cotrustees can only be exercised by unanimous action.

Another major advantage to naming a team of co-trustees is that it gives you greater control over who is managing your trust’s assets. When a third party entity is your trustee, management of your trust can change hands as people leave the company. Yet California law states that when you have cotrustees, should a vacancy in either of those offices occur, the remaining trustees simply absorb those vacated responsibilities (unless, or course, you specify otherwise in the trust instrument). The same is true if one of the cotrustees becomes incapable of fulfilling his or her duties.