APPOINTING A TRUSTEE
Any person over the age of 18 who is of sound mind and who is not subject to any bankruptcy order may be appointed as trustee. It is advisable and sometimes a legal requirement to have more than one trustee; except for when a Trust Corporation is appointed in which case they can act solely.
You will need to choose your trustees wisely and be satisfied that they have the capacity to undertake this role and the responsibilities which accompany it. You do not have to appoint a professional trustee but you need to be extra careful to whom you give the power and responsibility of trusteeship, bearing in mind that the trustee
becomes the legal owner of your assets.
Because a trust separates the legal ownership of an asset from the beneficial ownership, it means that a settlor of a trust can be a trustee, but they must act in the interests of the beneficiaries and not themselves.
Beneficiaries can be appointed as trustees but this can often create a conflict of interest and it is usually advisable to appoint independent trustees, who have no beneficial interest in the trust.
WHY APPOINTING A PROFESSIONAL TRUSTEE CAN BE A BETTER CHOICE?
An Independent Trustee provides continued stability, professionalism and investment proficiency.
Professional - to relieve the burden of keeping up with ever changing current legislation and regulation, particularly the latter which is becoming more onerous and complex
Expertise – As professionals, they deal with Trust administration every day and so will not be phased by any complexity which may arise, such as finalising the tax, selling properties and managing investments. By appointing a professional, you can be confident that your Trust is in safe hands and will be dealt with correctly and efficiently.
Continuity – A professional company doesn’t pass away or become incapable and so you can be reassured that there will always be someone who is capable of managing your affairs.
Impartiality – A professional can ensure that matters are dealt with impartially, especially if there is any tension within your family. They will always act in the best interests of the trust and all of the beneficiaries, they will not take sides.