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Trust Your Trustee


Many people’s revo- cable trusts are de- signed to continue for a period of time past their deaths. For example, youmaywant trust assets distributed to your grandchildren when they attain a cer- tainage. Your successor trustee is the person

who will make those distributions and man-

a cer- tainage. Your successor trustee is the person who will make those distributions and man-

Joseph S. Karp,


Ifthisisyourconcern, youmay wishtoforego appointing a child as successor trustee and useathird-partytrustee instead. But if your es- tateisnotlargeenough tojustifytheexpenseof hiring an accountant, lawyer or the trust department of a bank assuccessortrustee, you

age the trust assets. You must trust your trustee obviously!Andthatmeansgivinghim some degree of discretion. If you tie his hands with too many restrictive provisions, you hamper his ability to properly manage your assets when conditions change. Some examples:

might want to consid- er appointing a close

family friend or perhaps your own sibling. The point is to select some- one you feel comfortable giving discretion, who can be objective and unflappable when beneficiaries complain. You may also want to think about



appointing a “Trust Protec- tor,” an impartial third party the successor trustee and beneficiaries may con- tact to settle problems.


Listen to Joe Karp and Anita Finley on Saturday, July 17 from 7:30-8:00 PM on WSBR 740AM and on the Internet at

Your trust specifies that your daughter will receive a minimal annual sum, and your struggling son, a far larger amount. But those figures are based on conditions at

You can even empower the Trust Protector to make

changes to your trust provisions if circumstances make it prudent to do so, like a change in the tax laws. See a Certified Elder Law Attorney


the time you drafted your trust. What if your beneficiaries’ financial fortunes reverse? You specify that a particular stock isnevertobesold; maybeyouworked for that corporation and the stock has performedwell. But today’s Wall Street darlings can be tomorrow’s disasters. This provision would pre- vent your trustee from selling it. Most people who put in these re- strictive provisions aren’t control freaks. Usually they’re just trying to keep peace among their adult children: “If Johnny is trustee and Bobby and Susan are not, Bobby and Susan can hardly complain about Johnny if he is just doing what I told him to do.”

for advice on making the most prudent choices!

Joseph S. Karp is a nationally certi- fiedandFlorida Bar-certifiedelder law attorney (C.E.L.A.) specializing in the practiceofTrusts, EstatesandElderLaw.

His offices are located at 2500 QuantumLakes Drive, Boynton Beach; 2875 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; and 1100 SW St. Lucie W. Blvd., Port St. Lucie.

Call himat 561-752-4550 (Boynton); 561-625-1100 (Palm Beach Gardens); or 772-343-8411 (Port St. Lucie). Toll-freefromanywhere: 800-893-9911. E-mail: or website

Read The Florida Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog at