Finding the Right Trustee for You and Your Family

By September 18, 2013Care Planning


This week’s LivHOME guest blog comes from Dan Felix, who helps families work through their trust issues.  Here is Dan on some helpful tips on finding the right trustee for you and your loved one.

Here’s Dan:

At the critical time that the new trustee has to step in for the family, crisis can occur.  All too often families suffer the painful experience of their trust not working.   Tensions and contentions, fights – maybe strained family holiday dinners…cancelled altogether!   Court?!


And on the other hand, the right trustee can aid the family with the smoothest of transitions.   In fact, the right trustee can help a family to stand on the shoulders of their relative, and to lead a more empowered and fulfilled life – often carrying forward that relative’s legacy into the next generations.

Here are the primary trustee troubles that can destroy a family:


  •  WORK OVER LOAD: The trustee has too much work with the detailed and comprehensive investment, custody, distribution, communication and other trustee tasks – not to mention the actual beneficiaries!   This is either more than the trustee bargained for, or has just become too overwhelming.
  • TOO COMPLEX:  The niceties of trust administration –financial, fiduciary, and family empowerment & dynamics considerations – are beyond the trustee’s current expertise.   Trust administration is both a science and an art, complete with a learning curve.
  • NOT ENOUGH TIME:   The trustee is already busy with his own life.  The demands of the trustee’s job often consume lots of time and often at inconvenient times.    This can result in short-cuts, short-cuts in keeping the rest of the family in the loop, in following the legal niceties, in meeting various deadlines.
  • LESS THAN APPRECIATIVE FAMILY:   Many families no longer happily gather because of the family member trustee – even when that trustee did everything right!   Money, family and mortality invoke powerful emotions that challenge family harmony.   A family member can be caught in this whirlwind, even where he is doing everything right!


The Professional Alternative

Help is available for the troubled trust. A professional trustee can help – especially one who is independent and offers a customized approach.


Experienced, available and with a practiced understanding of family dynamics, the professional stands on a solid foundation to better help the family heal and move forward.


Specifically, the professional trustee can ease the burden on the troubled trust by providing advice or back-office support – and, where appropriate and permitted, by serving as co-trustee or even as replacement trustee.


Dan Felix helps families make a smooth transition from the Troubled Trustee.  It starts with a confidential and complementary initial consultation

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