A large number of farm succession plans are trust-based due to the need for flexibility and creativity to address a farmer’s succession goals. The trust assets will be managed by a trustee, which makes selecting a trustee a key question for you and your family to answer.
Needless to say, you want to select a trustee who you can trust.
When selecting a trustee, you should keep a couple important traits in mind.
First, a trustee should be organized and good with keeping records. Your trustee must be capable of managing the various assets in your trust.
Second, a trustee must also be able to follow the directions that you put into the trust document, as well as handle the discretionary decisions you give him or her. Your trust is likely to include both direction and discretion, but the balance between these is up to you. You might favor direction if you trust the trustee, but are concerned about his or her ability to withstand pressure from beneficiaries.
Third, a trustee should be someone you can rely on. If you are already hesitant while you are still alive, that could be your gut telling you that this person might not be the best person to carry out your legacy.
Farmers typically select a qualified family member or friend to serve as trustee. If you do not have a family member or friend who is qualified to serve as trustee, you can always designate a corporate trustee, such as a bank or trust company. Corporate trustees charge an administration fee, so be sure you understand how much they charge before you select a corporate trustee.
A major goal of farm succession planning is for you to sleep easily knowing that your legacy is secure. Talk about your trustee options with family, friends or your attorney. In the end, trust your instinct.
Wright & Moore Law Co., LPA has a rich heritage in Ohio agriculture. Since 1988, our firm has proudly assisted farmers, rural residents, and landowners from all over the state with their farm succession planning and agricultural legal needs. We would be happy to discuss your family goals and how to meet them. To learn more about Wright & Moore or schedule a meeting, call 740-990-0750 or visit OhioFarmLaw.com.