Choosing Whom to Trust

If you have to, or wish to, appoint a Trustee (and for that matter an Executor or a Power of Attorney), please choose carefully. These are very important positions to fill. He or she needs to know you, know your mind and your wishes. Yes, you need responsibility and trust there too, and it should be someone you confidently believe knows you totally ­– as well as you know them. Family members are probably a good place to start. You would likely look for someone younger than you, so there is continuity tomorrow or in twenty years’ time. For none of us can know when such a role might need to be activated.

But sometimes families are not in harmony or some family members might fear being compromised, so a ‘best friend’ may come next. After that, perhaps the choice is amongst ‘trusted advisers’ who can see the so-called bigger picture and not let close relationships taint the impartial purpose of the role: which, in the case of an Executor may be to see your estate safely through to your beneficiaries. My advice too is that you choose individuals – not firms of lawyers, banks or other such organizations. The people within an organization can change; your familiar face may have moved, and it might be a complete stranger who eventually has to carry out your wishes. So please think carefully and in good time and, of course, keep your decisions up to date – personal circumstances change for us all. Trustees hold a responsible and legal position; you, and indeed they, need to be certain that they are the right man or woman for the job. You will know when you have made the right appointment, as the subject need not thereafter give you any cause to worry. Your mind will be at ease and your beneficiaries will be even more grateful and proud of you.

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