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I Was Asked to Be a Trustee, Now What?

I Was Asked to Be a Trustee, Now What?

| July 03, 2023

It’s happening over dinner.

It’s happening in restaurants and in offices and at barbecues and at ballgames.

It’s happening over a beer and even over text messages.

More than ever, people are popping the big question: “Can you be my trustee?” Over the course of the next two decades this question will become more commonplace. That’s because, according to the financial research and consulting firm Cerulli Associates, as much as $68 trillion will move from Baby Boomers to Millennials over the next 25 years.

Sophisticated estate plans have been built to help transition this wealth, but many of these plans require individuals or institutions to act as trustee or executor or administrator of personal estates.

So, you are honored, and you are proud to be asked to be a trustee… but now what?

First, take a deep breath. No one is expecting you to be an expert in tax and estate planning. You were likely selected because your friend or relative respects your character and your judgment and believes their wishes will be left in safe hands with you.

Next, check out these four simple things to keep in mind.

  1. You are a fiduciary. A trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of both current and future beneficiaries of the trust and can be held personally liable for any breach of that duty.
  2. Review the trust. It is important to understand what the trust says. Take time to review and understand the provisions so that you comprehend what you need to execute.
  3. Who are the beneficiaries? Often, a trust is created to secure an estate for underage heirs. Understand who the beneficiaries are and carefully examine the type of discretion you have regarding distributions.
  4. You aren’t in this alone. Remember, being named a trustee doesn’t mean that anyone expects you to suddenly have the acumen of a Wharton graduate. Every good head coach needs a great team of coordinators around him or her. As a trustee, you can bring in financial professionals like a CPA, an attorney or a financial advisor.

We’re here to help.

If you’ve been named a trustee, or if someone asked you and you are considering it, let’s set up some time to talk. The team at Phronesis Wealth Management looks forward to assisting you whether you are a current client of ours, or someone who is seeking help from a financial advisor in the Severna Park area. You can schedule a complimentary introductory appointment directly at

Together we can help take the worry away.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.