You’ve taken the first step to work with an estate-planning attorney to prepare your estate-planning documents. Now it’s time to decide who to appoint to carry out your wishes. That might include designating an executor or personal representative under your will, successor trustees for your revocable trust, and agents under your powers of attorney for finances and health care. Your first thought may be to choose a family member to serve in all of those roles. But a family member might not be the only option. Before you make a decision about who will serve as trustee or personal representative, consider these six questions:

1. Does your family member have the experience and knowledge to manage the finances of your estate or trust appropriately?

2. When asked to make a decision that may affect another family member, will your family member be able to act in a fair and unbiased manner?

3. Will naming a family member as trustee or personal representative create tension within the family?

4. Does your family member have the necessary amount of time in his or her life to manage the trust or the estate?

5. Does your family member want to act as trustee or personal representative?

6. Do you have other family members willing to serve as trustee or personal representative if your first chosen family member is unable to do so?

An alternative to designating a family member is naming a professional trustee — either with your family member (or yourself) as a co-trustee or as a sole successor trustee. Appointing a professional co-trustee allows your family member to have a voice in the administration of the trust without being burdened by day-to-day investment decisions and responsibilities.

Are professional trust services right for you?

When selecting a professional trustee, it’s important to consider one who will:

  • Administer your plan — Choose a professional trustee who will execute your wishes as specified in your trust agreement. A professional trustee will include experienced trust administrators, portfolio managers and other trust professionals to service your plan.
  • Have a sound investment philosophy — Look for a professional trustee who has a written investment philosophy, which includes quality investments based on investment objectives. A professional trustee should be capable of helping you and your family develop a strategy to manage and distribute your assets according to your wishes, as specified in your trust agreement.
  • Provide ongoing communication — Select a professional trustee who will collaborate with
    you and your family, financial advisor, accountant, attorney and other estate-planning professionals. In addition, make sure the professional trustee you select provides monthly statements to help you evaluate whether you or your beneficiaries are on track to meet your goals. Open communication is important.

How we can help

As a professional trustee, Edward Jones Trust Company (EJTC) can work with you, your financial advisor and your estate-planning professionals to help you build a plan that’s best for you and your family.

Ask your Edward Jones financial advisor if trust services may be an appropriate part of your estate strategy and whether EJTC might be able to help with your particular situation.

Important information:

Edward Jones Trust Company and Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor for guidance in these areas.

Trust and related services are provided by Edward Jones Trust Company, an affiliate of Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P. (Edward Jones), a dually registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Edward Jones Trust Company and Edward Jones are subsidiaries of the Jones Financial Companies, L.L.L.P. Edward Jones Trust Company may use Edward Jones or other affiliates to act as a broker-dealer for transactions or for other services. Payments of such services may be charged as an expense to the trust and will not reduce the amount of fees payable to Edward Jones Trust Company.