Elder Law Minute – Should You Name Co-Trustees of a Trust?

In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson explains why he isn’t a big fan of naming co-trustees of a trust.


Hi! I’m Wes Coulson from Coulson Elder Law, proudly serving clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond. I’d like to welcome you to our Elder Law and Estate Planning Minute. We do these to help educate people, give them some little tips, and especially to let them know the questions they need to ask, things that they’ve maybe not thought of. Our thought on that is that we can help you best if you realize the things that you need help and that we can help you with. So I hope you enjoy. Thanks!

One of the questions we get quite a bit, particularly with people who have two children is, should I name co-trustees of a trust? First, you certainly can, but let me tell you why I’m, not particularly, a big fan of it. I always tell people, well I start by asking this question, “okay, the two that you have in mind, how well do they get along?” If the answer is, “well, they get along great”, then I say, okay, well if you name one of them, whatever they do, the other one is probably going to be okay with, and they’ll talk to each other informally; even if they’re not formally co-trustees.

The flip side is, what if they disagree? They don’t have to be, like, fighting disagree; what if, the question is, say you’ve decided that the trust is going to sell a house, and you get an offer for $20,000 less than the purchase price and one says I think we should take it and the other says I don’t think we should. If they are going back and forth to settle that, the answer has been no because the offer has gone away.

If you do name co-trustees, you need to have something in place that is going to settle a tie vote other than winding up going to court to do it. So, just some things to think about if you’re thinking about naming co-trustees. Thanks!

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