Appointing trustee for special children's trust.

Trusteeship Services offered by Nexgen ensure that you have peace of mind with a professional responsible to manage your trust!

Estate planning takes on a more central role in your overall financial strategy as you accumulate wealth. One potentially effective way to manage your legacy may be to establish trusts, which are drafted by an attorney and require the naming of a trustee to oversee many or all aspects of trust administration.

Choosing a Trustee

One of the most important decisions you’ll face when establishing your trust is the selection of your trustee(s). The trustee is responsible for distributing income and principal to the beneficiaries of the trust according to the terms specified by you, the grantor, in the trust deed.

In today's complex environment, the role of a trustee can be burdensome. Family members or other associates may be considered for the role, but the task can be time consuming and demanding. In some cases, it may require a level of financial and trust administration expertise that could test the limits of an individual's time and capabilities. With wealth and a legacy at stake, careful consideration should be given to the person or entity appointed to handle this responsibility.

You are free to choose anyone as the trustee of your trust, and frequently an individual is chosen to act as trustee. That individual may be yourself during your lifetime, your spouse, a child or other relative, a friend of the family, or a professional advisor, such as your attorney or accountant.

The advantages of an individual acting as your trustee are:

  • has personal knowledge of your beneficiaries, if it is a family member or close friend
  • Greater ability to influence beneficiaries to whom distributions are given
  • Aware of changing circumstances over time
  • Less expensive

The disadvantages with an individual trustee are:

  • Lack of investment experience
  • Need to incur expenses for outside experts, such as accountants and attorneys
  • Possible strains on family relationships or friendships caused by decisions made
  • Perception that beneficiaries may influence the decision maker

What is a Corporate Trustee or a Professional Trustee?

A professional trustee is a person (or a company) who acts as a trustee of a trust. That person (or company) has no interest in the assets of the trust – that is they are not a beneficiary of the trust and are not entitled to share in the assets of the trust.

With a corporate trustee, the company is a trustee, and the members of the trust are directors. So, a Corporate Trustee is generally a third party corporate entity that provides trusteeship services for fee. A corporate trustee's role is to act in the interests of beneficiaries by being an independent supervisor and custodian of assets. A corporate trustee needs to act as per the directions set in the trust deed.

By choosing a corporate trustee, you help ensure that current and future generations benefit from the continuity, prudence, and professionalism that a well-established organization can provide.

How to Select a Corporate Trustee?

When you choose a trustee, you should consider their...

Reputation - a trustee who has a good track record and credibility will provide your venture with an assurance of quality.

Experience - a trustee should have a wide range of experience as this will enable it to identify and help avoid issues, and to offer innovative solutions for your project.

Network - a trustee who can draw on wider resources is likely to be able to address all the needs of your project.

Approach - a trustee needs to be flexible, consultative and innovative and its approach should suit the way you conduct your tasks.

Pragmatism - a trustee should have the experience and pragmatism to balance legal duties with commercial realism.

Why should you choose a Corporate Trustee?

Experience: We have advantage of years of experience. Because we manage trusts daily, we are familiar with all kinds of trusts, tax and estate planning strategies, and the legal responsibilities of a trustee.

We can manage the assets in your trust now and/or after you die as your trust directs—buying and selling assets, paying expenses, filing tax returns, maintaining accurate records, and distributing income and assets. We have experience with all kinds of assets, including shares and bonds, real estate, agriculture land, closely held businesses, international investments, and collectibles.

Investment Management Skills: You’ll enjoy the potential of even greater investment returns. Corporate trustees give their full attention to managing trust assets. And because we have more experience and resources than an individual, we often achieve better results.

After discussing your financial goals, risk tolerance and long-term objectives with you, we will recommend the best investment strategy for you. Then, depending on how involved you want us to be, we can provide ongoing advice, or even make decisions for you, to make sure your investments stay on track to reach your goals.

Continuity of Services: You’ll receive reliable, professional service. A corporate trustee won’t become ill or die, divorce, go on vacation, move away or become distracted by personal concerns or emotions as an individual might.

Objectivity & Impartiality: You’ll value our objectivity. We will follow your trust instructions objectively and faithfully, something family members are often unable to do.

Resources: You’ll get access to our rich sources of advice and referrals. We routinely provide advice on investment, tax, retirement and estate planning issues, and can refer you to our in-house lawyers, chartered accountants and other qualified professionals as needed.

Peace of Mind: You’ll enjoy peace of mind. Knowing you have selected someone with experience and integrity to manage your financial affairs now and/or when you are no longer able to do so yourself can be very reassuring.

In what ways can I appoint a Corporate Trustee?

Nexgen can help you shortlist corporate trustees to be associated with your trust as:

As a Trustee: As trustee, a corporate trustee has full responsibility for managing your trust assets according to your instructions.

This would be an excellent choice if you are elderly and have no one you can trust to take care of your financial affairs. You may be widowed, have no children or other trusted relatives living nearby (or don’t want to burden them), or you and your spouse may be in declining health.

Even if you are capable of managing your own trust, a corporate trustee can be a wise choice. You may not have the time, desire or investment experience to manage your trust yourself. Or perhaps you just feel that someone with more time and experience could do a better job than you.

As a Co-Trustee: If you want to take advantage of a corporate trustee’s investment experience but still like to be involved, you could have one work with you as co-trustee. Developing a working relationship with a corporate trustee now lets them become familiar with your objectives, your trust and your beneficiaries’ needs and personalities while you are around and able to provide guidance and input.

It would also give you a chance to see how they would perform in your absence, let you evaluate their investment performance and service, and let you see how comfortable you feel with them overall.

As an Investment Advisor: You could also name a corporate trustee as a Financial Advisor. You can have them manage only a portion of your trust’s assets (your share mutual funds and bonds, for example) or they may just provide you with investment advice, with you making all final investment decisions.

As a Successor Trustee: If you decide to be your own trustee you should consider naming a corporate trustee as your successor trustee. In this capacity, as a successor trustee we will step in and manage your trust for you when you can no longer act due to incapacity or death. Many people like the idea of having a professional take care of the paperwork, tax filings and other final details.

Example of some of the situations where can be associated with you as Trustees

  • Minor Co Trustee with or without Funds      Minor Trusts
  • Minor Co Trustee with or with Fund Management      Minor Trusts
  • Special Child Trusteeship Services      Special Child Trust
  • Regular Trust Trusteeship Services      Regular Trusts

Will I lose control of my assets if I use a corporate trustee?

Not if the trust is prepared correctly. With most trusts, you can change your trustee at any time if you aren’t satisfied. Even with an irrevocable trust, you or your beneficiaries can have the right to change the corporate trustee.

Also, the trustee you select must follow the instructions you put in your trust—while you are living, if you become incapacitated, and after you die. That’s because a trust is a binding legal contract, and your trustee can be held liable if he or she doesn’t follow your instructions.

Should everyone use a corporate trustee?

No, not everyone. But many more people should consider appointing a Corporate Trustee. Most people are just not aware of the many benefits a corporate trustee can offer them and their families.

You need to look practically at your situation and the type of trust you set up. If you have a fairly small estate and your trust is fairly simple, you may be fine being your own trustee and having a capable family member step in for you when you can no longer manage your trust yourself.

But if your estate is larger, has diverse types of assets, or if you doubt your relatives’ capabilities or intentions, you should definitely consider a corporate trust.

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