The Pros and Cons of Using the Same Personas Trustee and Personal Representative
If you’re including a trust in your estate plan, you may make your trustee the same person you’ve selected to be your estate’s personal representative, if you choose. In fact, it is quite common for people to do so. But just because it’s easy and common does not always mean it’s the right choice.
Here are a few of the pros and cons associated with using the same person in both roles to help you decide if it is a good idea in your situation.
The simplicity of naming the same person in both roles is certainly attractive. Not only does it make it easy to remember who has which responsibilities (the same person has all responsibilities associated with both roles), but it also makes for easier paperwork.
In addition, the attorney helping with settling the estate and trust will only need to worry about communicating with one person. The less work that attorney has to do the better; it could mean greater savings and more money from your estate that will remain for your heirs.
Finally, communication between the probate court and the estate becomes easier, as there’s only one person with whom the court will need to communicate, thus eliminating potential misunderstandings.
In some cases, you may find it beneficial to have a different person filling each role to add some checks and balances to the estate administration process, especially if you have a particularly valuable estate. You may decide it could be risky to have one person having control over everything, and thus having two people work in conjunction with each other may be the better arrangement.
You should still make sure you select people who will work well together and will not have opposed ideas about the way an estate should be settled. Remember, the job of the personal representative of your estate is short-term. The job of trustee is often much longer-term. The person who has the time and skills for one job, may not have the time or skills for the other.
For more information about selecting personal representatives and trustees, contact experienced Tampa, FL estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.