We believe that selecting a wealth manager for you and your family is one of the most important, if not the most important, decision you will make in planning your estate. The outcome and consequence of this decision will have implications not only today but also well into your family’s future. While it is important to find the right trustee, we understand that it can be challenging to select a trustee who understands your family and your needs, and can manage the complexities of your estate.
Choosing a Successor Trustee
Often, when families are considering whom to name as their trustee, there is a natural tendency to initially choose a family member or individual advisors as trustees due to their familiarity with the beneficiaries and your goals. However, because these named individuals may resign or eventually be unable to serve as trustee due to death or incapacity, it is common to name a corporate successor trustee to take over for the individual when they are no longer able to manage the trust.
At First Western Trust, we are happy to serve as your corporate successor trustee. It is our policy and intent when named as a future or successor fiduciary to begin building our relationship with you, and when appropriate, with your family in advance of the need for services. We take the time to understand your and your family’s goals for every dimension of your wealth. This relationship building provides a more successful transition. Beneficiaries tell us that not only does our approach help them better understand your intent as the trust maker but also makes them feel more valued as an integral part of the process.
This process also allows us to more clearly understand your goals, vision, and financial affairs and any special needs or circumstances in your family. All of these elements taken together ultimately help us work in the best interests of you and your family.
Partnering with a Bank as Your Successor Trustee
While it is common to name an individual as a trustee, what we have found is that working with a bank as a successor trustee provides you with several advantages.
First, corporate successor trustees have significant experience in making prudent investment decisions and managing the accounting requirements of a trust, whereas many individuals lack this trust management expertise.
Second, a corporate successor trustee provides unbiased decision-making and high accountability. When making decisions about whether or not to make a distribution, family members who serve as trustees may have a more difficult time making objective decisions. By partnering with a bank as a successor trustee, you have a trustee who is often better able to manage family dynamics and protect the intentions of your trust.
Third, as you would expect from an institution like First Western Trust, when working with a bank as your successor trustee, you also benefit from the strength and backing of our institution. Not only do you have the expertise of your individual trustee, but also you and your beneficiaries can benefit from the knowledge of our entire team in trust and estate planning, wealth planning, investment management services, and private banking.
Fourth, corporate successor trustees are required to meet higher standards than nonprofessionals. Because our teams are regulated by both state and federal agencies, you gain greater peace of mind knowing that our team is held to a true fiduciary standard, so we will always act in the best interests of your family.