By: Katina H. Pantazis, Esq.

Published at

12 June 2024

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Naming a Child vs. a Professional Trustee: Exploring Trust Management Options

When creating a trust, one of the critical decisions is who should be your trustee.  Some opt to appoint a family member, such as a child (mostly the elder child), as trustee, while others choose to enlist the services of a professional trustee. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and considerations. 

Florida Trustee:

The trustee is an individual or entity responsible for managing the trust assets and carrying out its terms.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the factors to consider when deciding between naming a child and selecting a professional trustee to manage a trust.

Naming a Child as a Trustee: 

Appointing a child as trustee can have several benefits, including:

1. Familiarity and Trust: A child trustee may have a deep understanding of the family dynamics, values, and intentions behind the trust, fostering trust and transparency among beneficiaries.

2. Cost Savings: Choosing a family member as a trustee may save on trustee fees, as they may be willing to serve without compensation or for a lower fee compared to professional trustees.

3. Personalized Attention: A child trustee may provide more personalized attention to the needs and preferences of individual beneficiaries, given their close relationship with the family.

However, there are also potential drawbacks to consider:

1. Conflict of Interest: A child trustee may face conflicts of interest, particularly if they are also a trust beneficiary. Balancing their fiduciary duties with personal interests can be challenging.

2. Lack of Expertise: Family trustees may lack the specialized knowledge and experience to manage complex trust assets or navigate legal and financial matters.

3. Strain on Relationships: Serving as trustee can place a significant burden on a child, potentially straining family relationships or causing resentment among beneficiaries.

Suggested Read: 

Selecting Your Trustee: A Crucial Decision in Estate Planning

Selecting a Professional Trustee

Appointing a professional trustee offers several advantages:

1. Expertise and Experience: Professional trustees possess specialized knowledge and experience in trust administration, investment management, and fiduciary duties, ensuring competent and reliable management of trust assets.

2. Objectivity and Impartiality: Professional trustees can maintain objectivity and impartiality in decision-making, free from personal biases or conflicts of interest that may affect family trustees.

3. Continuity and Stability: Professional trustee services offer continuity and stability, ensuring seamless trust administration.

However, there are also considerations to keep in mind:

1. Cost: Professional trustee services typically come with fees, which may be higher than what a family trustee would charge, potentially impacting the overall value of the trust. If cost is your main focus here or if you have a small trust naming a child can be an alternative to using a professional trustee. 

2. Lack of Personal Connection: Professional trustees may lack the personal connection and understanding of family dynamics that a child trustee would have, potentially leading to a more impersonal or formal relationship with beneficiaries.

3. Limited Flexibility: Professional trustees may operate within strict institutional guidelines or policies, limiting flexibility in trust administration compared to a family trustee.

Do you know:  
You can appoint multiple trustees in your trust, also known as a co-trustee. The person creating a trust or a settlor can select any individual or a professional institution as your trustee.


Choosing between naming a child and selecting a professional trustee is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration of various factors, including family dynamics, trust complexity, and financial considerations. While appointing a child as trustee may offer familiarity and cost savings, it's essential to weigh the potential conflicts of interest and lack of expertise. On the other hand, choosing professional trustee services provides expertise, objectivity, and continuity but comes with associated costs and potential drawbacks.

Ultimately, the decision should align with the goals and objectives of the trust creator and prioritize effective trust management and the best interests of the beneficiaries. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can provide valuable insights and guidance to help navigate this important decision and ensure the successful administration of the trust.

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