Why A Co-Trustee Could Be A Terrible Idea!
Hi there, Bridget Mackay here. I’m an attorney in Petaluma, California, and I practice in the area of estate planning and elder law.
Today on my video blog, I want to talk about appointing two trustees in your trust, or co-trustees. This is a tale of caution for me. I’ve, in the past, had cases where parents don’t want to hurt a child, and so they appoint both children in a trust. Or, they want to spread the jobs out, so they make one child in charge of all the finances and another child in charge of all the health decisions for them. This works, in the perfect world, where your children get along. So, if you have children that get along, they can discuss things with each other, they can kinda get the job done, then it’s probably okay. But, in a situation where you’re trying to just please your children, so that you give a job to everyone and nobody feels left out, however, you know in your heart of hearts, your kids could have the tendency, or outwardly do have the tendency now to not get along or make decisions together, then I’m telling you right now, it’s a very expensive and bad idea to make those choices.
In one case in particular I had, I had one client’s son was the health decision maker, the other son was the financial decision maker. When that client became incapacitated and needed care, the two of them were at odds with each other. So much so that the son that was in charge of healthcare totally shut out the son who was in charge of finances. And, in retaliation, the son in charge of finances gave the son in charge of healthcare no information about his parents’ assets. So, it was hard for him to make health decisions. So, they had to engage an attorney, me, to help them communicate with each other and just get that client basic care, and placement, and services. The take away message is, really think twice when you choose to either pair children together or you decide to give everybody a job because you don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. The best way to work all those issues out is to contact a qualified estate planning attorney; they’ll help you make those decisions, and make them wisely.