By: Katina H. Pantazis, Esq.

Published at

10 June 2024

feature image

Selecting Your Trustee: A Crucial Decision in Estate Planning

Selecting a trustee for your trust is one of the most important decisions you'll make in estate planning. Your trustee will be responsible for managing trust assets, making financial decisions, and ensuring your wishes are carried out according to the terms of the trust. With so much at stake, it's essential to select a trustee who is trustworthy, competent, and capable of fulfilling their fiduciary duties. Let's explore some key considerations for choosing the right trustee for your trust.

Key Take-Aways
  1. A trustee is a person or entity appointed to manage and administer assets in a trust for beneficiaries' benefit.
  2. Trustees in Florida can be family members, friends, or trusted advisors.
  3. Other options for a trustee are corporate trustees and fiduciaries such as banks, trust companies, and other financial institutions. 
  4. A co-trustee is also a great option for selecting someone as your trustee. 
  5. The roles of a Trustee include asset management, adherence to trust terms, and beneficiary welfare.
  6. Qualities to look for in your trustee are trustworthiness, financial acumen, availability, and communication skills when selecting a trustee.

Who can be a Trustee in Florida? 

Any individual who is not a minor (above 18 years), is mentally and medically fit to oversee the duties of a trustee, and is not a sole beneficiary of the trust can serve as a trustee in Florida. 

These individuals can act as a trustee of a trust, 

1. A family member, friend, or trusted advisor can act as a trustee of a trust. 

2. Corporate trustees and fiduciaries like banks, trust companies, and other financial institutions. 

3. A Co-Trustee can be a great option as a trustee, a trust can have multiple trustees, either individuals, professionals, or a combination of both. This may provide a balance of personal attention and professional oversight.

When selecting a trustee, it's crucial to consider their integrity, financial acumen, willingness to serve, and ability to carry out the duties of a trustee.

Understanding the Role of a Trustee:

Before delving into the selection process, it's crucial to understand the responsibilities of a trustee

A trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the trust beneficiaries, following the instructions outlined in the trust document. Their duties may include:

1. Managing trust assets prudently and responsibly.

2. Making investment decisions per the trust's investment objectives.

3. Distributing income and principal to beneficiaries as specified in the trust.

4. Keeping accurate records of the trust documents and providing periodic/yearly accountings to beneficiaries.

5. Administer the trust per state laws and regulations.

See Duties and Powers of Trustee under the Florida Trust Code here

Key Considerations When Choosing a Trustee:

1. Trustworthiness and Integrity: Above all, your trustee must be someone you trust implicitly to carry out your wishes with honesty and integrity. Look for individuals with a proven track record of reliability and ethical behavior.

2. Financial Acumen: Managing trust assets and understanding trust accountings requires financial expertise and sound judgment. Consider candidates having a solid understanding of investment principles, asset management, and financial planning.

3. Availability and Commitment: Serving as a trustee is a significant responsibility that requires time, attention, and dedication. Choose someone willing and able to devote the necessary time to fulfill their duties as trustee.

4. Conflict of Interest: Avoid selecting a trustee having conflicts of interest or competing priorities that could compromise their ability to act impartially. It's essential to prioritize the best interests of the friend or family members above all else.

5. Communication Skills: Effective communication is key to successful trust administration. Your trustee should be able to communicate clearly and transparently with beneficiaries, providing updates, explanations, and guidance as needed.

6. Backup Plan:  Consider appointing a successor trustee or naming a corporate trustee if your primary trustee is unable or unwilling to serve. A backup plan ensures continuity and avoids disruptions in trust administration.

Suggested Read:  
As a Florida's qualified Trustee learn what are your duties to inform

Consulting with Professionals:

Choosing a trustee is a complex decision that may benefit from professional guidance. A best estate planning attorney can provide valuable insight and assistance in selecting the right trustee for your trust. They can also help you navigate the legal requirements and formalities of trust administration.

Need Guidance in Choosing the Perfect Trustee for Your Trust

Contact our office today to schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our experienced Estate Planning Attorneys.

Let Florida's best estate planning attorney assist you in selecting a trustee for your trust to ensure your wishes are honored with compassion and expertise.


Email Us


Selecting a trustee is a critical aspect of estate planning that requires careful consideration and deliberation. By choosing a trustee who possesses the necessary qualities and characteristics, you can help ensure the smooth administration of your trust and the fulfillment of your wishes for the benefit of your loved ones.

Take the time to evaluate potential candidates thoughtfully, seek input from trusted advisors, and consult with an estate planning attorney to make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and objectives. With the right trustee by your side, you can have confidence that your legacy will be managed with diligence, integrity, and care.

Useful Resources:

  1. Florida Trustee’s Duty to Inform and Florida Trust Code.
  2. How Often Should I Update My Florida Estate Plan?

Take the next step

Our advisors will help to answer your questions — and share knowledge you never knew you needed — to get you to your next goal, and the next.

Disclosure: The information contained in this website and blog is of a general nature and is not intended in any way to answer individual legal questions. If you have a legal question concerning your individual circumstances, please contact our firm to schedule a conference with one of our experienced attorneys. Your review of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor any legal privileges relating thereto. Offices in Ocala and Sebring.

©Copyright 2024 by e-estatesandtrusts.com All Rights Reserved.