When residents of Tucson think about creating a will or trust, they will have to think who they want to appoint as their trustee or personal representative.
Being a trustee, or a personal representative or conservator, is a significant responsibility.
The trustee will have a lot of leeway to gather and manage the property of a person’s estate, but she will also have the obligation to handle the property on behalf of those who ultimately will receive it.
Because of this a trustee will have to be someone who can make good financial decisions while working under pressure. The trustee also has to be trustworthy enough not to self-deal or engage in other conflicted decisions.
Using a law office for fiduciary service can make good financial sense
Many Arizonans will first think to use a loved one as a trustee or personal representative, and this may make sense in many cases.
However, in other cases, it may make good sense in terms of finances, and legally, to appoint an outside law firm as the trustee or to perform other fiduciary services.
A law firm has the advantage of being seen as an objective party and somewhat removed from family dynamics. As such, they may be ideal trustees in situations where family members are not getting along.
Moreover, at the risk of losing their licenses, attorneys must follow professional standards which require them to handle people’s money and legal affairs professionally and with the proper diligence and skill.
The heightened standards lawyers must follow, even when they are not acting as an advocate for one side or the other, give families an extra layer of protection against self-dealing behavior.
Sometimes, a trust or estate is just too financially complex for any one person to handle without it turning into a full-time job. In these and other circumstances, someone doing estate planning should consider allowing an experienced firm to fill the key role of trustee.