Keeping It in the Family: The Pitfalls of Naming a Family Member as a Trustee

Richard C. Ausness

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This article is concerned with trusts in which either the settlor, trustee, or beneficiaries are members of the same family. For example, the settlors may be the parents, grandparents, or other relatives of the trust beneficiaries. Trustees may be settlors, parents of the beneficiaries, children of the settlor, and other family members, while beneficiaries may include either the settlor, the settlor's spouse, children, grandchildren, or other relatives of the settlor. These persons will be referred to as "family members."

Virtually all family members have disagreements with other family members and sometimes these disagreements can destroy relationships and even lead to bitter, long-term feuds. As the cases discussed below will show, testamentary provisions by a deceased family member can also cause strife within a family, particularly when a long-term trust is involved. More importantly, the chances of this happening are greatly increased when the decedent chooses a family member to serve as trustee.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalLaw Faculty Scholarly Articles
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


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