One of the most dangerous practices of people who are doing a Will or trust is to name their oldest child automatically as the trustee or executor of their trust or Will upon their demise. Time after time that particular person named just because they are the oldest turns out to be probably the weakest pick of the litter. When you are advising a client on the subject, you must explore the background of each child and try to get the parent to make the best selection not just the one that is the norm which is to name the eldest child. A large percentage of Will and trust litigation is based upon the fact that people do not select the person on merit but simply on “first born”. Even if they only have one child this person’s ability should be scrutinized as well. In fact, no matter how many children they have if none of them can meet what you think are proper criteria for the job, let them know. In fact, one of our most recent cases the youngest son who was a medical doctor and was fully able to handle his deceased mother’s affairs wasn’t able to do it because his older brother had been appointed trustee of the trust. Not until the older brother who was essentially unemployed, uneducated, etc., and who completely messed up his mother’s affairs were we able to get the older son in as substitute trustee for his brother who was eliminated by the court.
On behalf of Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP | Jul 29, 2016 | Firm News