In a previous post we explained how to choose an executor for your will. There are two other choices you may want to consider when working on your estate plan: trustee and guardian.

Not every estate needs to name a trustee or guardian, but there are times when it can be very important in carrying out your wishes.

Here are explanations of the roles of trustee and guardian.

  • Trustee. Some people set up what are called living trusts in order to avoid probate. Whenever you set up a trust, you need to appoint a trustee to administer it. The trustee manages the assets of the trust, investing money, distributing assets, and complying with all legal requirements. The person you choose to be trustee should be a family member or close friend, over 21, responsible and trustworthy, and competent in financial matters. If you can’t find anyone suitable for the job, or if your estate is complex, you can choose a professional trust company or a Trust Department in a bank to manage the trust.
  • Guardian. A guardian is needed when you have dependents who will require care in the event of your death. This person will have custody of your dependents and will oversee their financial affairs, their health, and their education. Since the guardian will be in effect raising your children, you should choose someone who has similar values as you, and will show the same degree of care for your children as you would. The person should be over 21, in good health, and ideally should live close to you and be familiar with your family’s needs.

Choosing a trustee or guardian is an important decision. If you need expert advice in this area, contact Grissom Law, LLC at 678-781-9230.

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