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An estate trustee is the person, or one of the persons, named in the last will and testament of the deceased who is appointed specifically to administer the will and to ensure that the final wishes of the deceased are respected. It is someone who is considered trustworthy and responsible – often a spouse, close friend or family member; however, if the estate is complicated it may be a professional, such as a lawyer, accountant or corporate trustee. Since it is a position of trust, choosing an estate trustee—as well as accepting the responsibility of being an estate trustee—are decisions that merit considerable thought. Read the Article

Seven Keys To A better Beneficiary-Trustee Relationship

Romar Carl, Eric Sanderson (Ascent)

Beneficiaries who view the trustee as an obstacle between them and “their” money are often frustrated, while beneficiaries who view the trustee as a partner to facilitate the trust creator’s wishes are more often happy with the trust arrangement. Not knowing the purpose of the trust and not understanding the fiduciary duties imposed upon the trustee to carry out that purpose are the most common reasons why some beneficiaries see trustee decisions as unreasonable or arbitrary. The most productive and satisfying relationships between beneficiaries and trustees may be those in which the beneficiaries are willing to learn and understand how the trust is required to function and where the trustee is willing to teach and mentor the beneficiaries. When this relationship works, a trust may no longer feel like a burden.
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Four Questions to Consider When Selecting a Trustee

Hartley Goldstone, Kathy Wiseman (Navigating the Trustscape)

Are you finding the selection of a trustee challenging? Are you wondering about which qualities to look for in a trustee? Will your choice serve your family well over the years, perhaps generations? This article provides some very helpful insights into this extremely important decision.
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A classic article by Jay Hughes. Every day somewhere in the world a human being who is cast in the role of “beneficiary of a trust” accuses her or his trustee of being unresponsive to her or his request to be heard and to be represented. How can a trust set up to benefit one human being by another come to such a tragic place? Easily, when we understand that the relationship between the trustee and the beneficiary is an arranged marriage.
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Trustees duties are numerous and complex, and can be an onerous task with significant exposure to liability. Before accepting an appointment as a trustee, clients should take time to consider the nature and scope of the fiduciary obligations they are being asked to assume. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the duties all prospective and existing trustees should be away of regarding the exercise of the office of trustee.
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This helpful checklist from Manulife of executor’s duties (based on distribution in Ontario with a valid will) is a valuable tool for anyone tasked with this important role.
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Most people give significant thought to the investment professional they choose to manage their investment portfolio, the legal counsel to draft their Will, the realtor they choose to sell their house or the contractor they choose to repair it. But what kind of rigour do they use to choose the person who will make financial decisions for them and be in control of their assets, at a time when they are losing or have lost the ability to do so themselves? This paper discusses how you can protect yourself with a Power of Attorney, and important considerations to mitigate your risk when choosing one or more attorneys.
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Acting as an attorney (under a Power of Attorney) is a tremendous responsibility and one that should not be given — or taken on — without careful consideration. If you have been appointed as an attorney, you are required to act exclusively for the benefit of the individual who appointed you. This is a complicated undertaking — one that can seem especially overwhelming if you are also caring for a loved one. This article provides information on the duties of an attorney appointed under a Power of Attorney for property and explains how to get help with those duties.
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Six Core Fiduciary Duties for Financial Advisors

Knut Rostad (Institute for the Fiduciary Standard)

Fiduciary care embodies the highest standard of excellence. Throughout history, fiduciaries have held a unique and important role in law and the investment profession. Fiduciaries must possess two sets of attributes: (1) the technical expertise, i.e. experience and specialized knowledge that equip them to render advice (due care) and (2) an undivided loyalty to their client. This article outlines the six core duties of a fiduciary.
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A newly developed paradigm of planning for wealthy individuals and families is aimed at both promoting individual and families flourishing and avoiding or at least alleviating negative family dynamics and the “dark side” of inherited wealth. Because trusts are a key part of the landscape for a wealth family and a key purpose of establishing a trust structure is often to preserve and pass on family financial capital, it makes sense to ask the question of what this new paradigm of planning means for trusts, trustees, protectors and the advisors who set them up, and how flexibility of the trust concept can be taken advantage of.
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A list of the traits that a good beneficiary should adopt in their relationship with a trustee. The goal is to ensure that the relationship between the beneficiary and the trustee is so smooth that each sees himself or herself as an equal member of a team working for a common goal of long-term family wealth preservation. This material comes from Jay Hughes book, ‘Family Wealth: Keeping It in the Family’.
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