Naming the right trustee, executor, or agent under your power of attorney is probably more important than having the right document. I would rather have a great trustee and a bad trust than a great trust and a bad trustee.

It feels good to name your spouse or child as your executor or trustee. You feel good because you don’t have to pay your favorite financial institution thousands of dollars per year. Your family members feel good because they have been appointed to a position of honor.  In many cases, we name the trust maker’s children to serve as the trustee or successor trustee. But it is not always a great idea. Everyone should go into this with their eyes open. The job description should say: “Will be overworked and underpaid, while being accused of charging too much for not doing anything. Will not be able to please anyone. May be sued.”   

When serving as a fiduciary, you can’t fly by the seat of your pants. You can’t use your gut. You can’t rely on logic or reason unless you understand the law and the facts. Sometimes it is a good idea to name your spouse or child. Sometimes there are good reasons to use a corporate trustee. Every case is different. You will not find a perfect trustee. Thankfully, you don’t need to. You just need someone who is willing  to do it right.