4 Things to Consider When Naming a Trustee to Your Trust

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

Many people consider creating a trust as part of their Idaho estate plan to help them in distributing their property to their loved ones. A trust is a way for an individual to protect their property and yet be able to avoid the cost and time associated with probate upon their death.  A trust has to be administered by an individual who is named as the trustee. This individual has the responsibility and the ability to handle trust property and Nic distributions of trust assets. Here are four things to consider when naming a trustee to your trust.


Perhaps the most important consideration to make first is whether the individual you are naming as the trustee of your trust has the ability to handle administering your trust. From a legal standpoint any adult, which in Idaho means an individual 18 years of age or older, who has capacity is capable of being named as a trustee of a trust. However most people would agree that it would likely be unwise to name an 18 year old individual as a trustee.

In providing advice and counsel to my clients I almost always recommend that they find somebody who is older, who has some experience in life, and perhaps even some experience in business and dealing with property. You certainly want to consider naming an individual who will understand your property, and understand your instructions on how it should be handled and distributed.


This leads to the next thing to consider when naming a trustee. Usually, it is difficult to find one individual who has a complete skill set to handle a trust. In this circumstance there is nothing wrong with needing co-trustees who may be responsible for certain aspects of the trust. Additionally, co-trustees can be named to administer the entire trust where they have to work together and come to an agreement on what actions need to be taken within the trust.

Anytime you are going to name more than one trustee it is recommended that you keep an odd number so that there can be no stalemate. Otherwise, you will need to draft in your trust document some mechanism that will be used by an even number of Trustees to break a still made on decisions about administering, or Distributing from the trust.


The third thing to consider is having a list of successor trustees named within your trust document. You may have found the perfect trustee to serve in your trust. However, this individual may die, or find that their own health, life circumstances, or other things make them incapable of properly acting as a trustee of your trust. In this instance you should have individuals who would be named as successor trustees to take their place.

If you don’t have successor trustees named within your trust document, then the beneficiaries can elect a person to be trustee, or if they cannot agree then the matter will be brought before a court and a court-appointed trustee will be named. This could lead to end individual acting as a trustee of your trust who you never considered.


Final thing to consider when naming a trustee is to keep in mind that the trustee is going to be administering the trust, but they will also be having regular contact with your family and other beneficiaries named in your trust. You will likely want the name somebody that your family understands and recognizes and hopefully respects as well. This could avoid conflicts from arising between your beneficiaries and your trusty. Additionally, every time your beneficiaries deal with your trusty they will be thinking about you and the trust that you created which now has an ongoing impact on their lives.

If you have questions about who should be named as a trustee of your Idaho trust, or if you have questions about your own Idaho estate planning, or an Idaho probate we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lve@racinelaw.net.  We will answer your Idaho Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.

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