For the Love of Your Family

Can I serve as a trustee if I don’t have any legal experience?

Clarifying Questions

Q: Can I serve as a trustee if I don’t have any legal experience?

-Curious Cousin

A: Dear Curious:

Being a trustee does NOT require you to be an expert in law, finance, taxes, or any other field related to trust administration. In fact, trustees are not only allowed to seek outside support from professionals in these areas, they’re highly encouraged to do so, and the trust estate will pay for you to hire these professionals.

So even though serving as a trustee may seem like a daunting proposition, you won’t have to handle the job alone. And you are also able to be paid to serve as trustee of a trust.

That said, many trustees, particularly close family members, often choose to forgo any payment beyond what’s required to cover the trust expenses, if that’s possible. But how you are compensated will depend on your personal circumstances, your relationship with the trust’s creator and beneficiaries, as well as the nature of the assets in the trust.

Meet with a Personal Family Lawyer® for help deciding whether or not to accept the role. And if you do choose to serve, they can guide you step-by-step throughout the entire process, ensuring you properly fulfill all of the trust creator’s wishes without exposing the beneficiaries—or yourself—to any unnecessary risks.

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