You are beginning to start the long process of estate planning, and you’re starting much earlier than many of your friends. While planning your estate early will give you many more potential benefits, you’re really only doing it for one reason: by setting up a special needs trust now, you are enduring that your disabled loved one is well taken care of after your death.
If you do not want a relative to serve as the trustee of your special needs trust, there are other options available. Many third parties, including certified public accountants (CPAs), banks, attorneys, and other companies offer services as trust administrators. However, there are pros and cons to choosing a third-party trustee—especially since there may be no formal licensing required to handle your affairs.
Benefits of Asking an Attorney to Serve as a Fiduciary to Your Trust
While any one of these third-parties may serve you well, there are significant advantages to choosing an attorney to act as your special needs trustee, including:
ExperienceYour family attorney may have experience with your affairs and your family situation, allowing him to make decisions about trust funds in a way that is in keeping with your wishes. However, he may not have experience with estate planning law if it is outside his regular practice. You should choose an attorney who has substantial experience in creating and administering special needs trusts, as well as demonstrating a strong financial background (such as accountancy experience and familiarity with tax law).
Related Legal BenefitsBanks may be able to offer financial advice on your trust, but they are not bound to advocate for their clients. An attorney, on the other hand, works solely to provide you with the best options available to save you time and money. An estate planning attorney can advise you on your trust, but also provide education on eligibility for public benefits, death taxes, and other legal issues that can be implemented (or avoided) to further benefit your disabled relative.
Professional ContactsTrust companies will often rely on a range of professionals to advise on (or even outsource) some of the work for your trust. This may mean hiring a company to prepare taxes or make payments from your trust, find a caregiver for your relative, or work with an attorney when legal matter arise. By hiring an attorney as fiduciary, you have all of the financial benefits of a bank, social benefits of a trust company, and built-in legal advice, allowing you to keep all of your loved one’s affairs in the same hands.
It Is Vital That You Choose Your Special Needs Trust Administrator Carefully!
Ultimately, the best choice of trustee will depend on the needs of your family and your beneficiary. Your trust administrator will not only be in charge of carrying out your instructions, but will represent your voice after you are gone—so it is vitally important that he or she can be trusted completely to carry out all of the required duties. If you have questions about setting up your special needs trust, call the Law Office of Walter B. Shurden today at 877-241-1230 or email us to have our staff contact you.