I named both of my kids as Trustees of my Trust. I just can’t pick between the two of them! I worry about this — one of them lives far away and is often away on business. Any thoughts on the logistical challenges of them working together as Co-Trustees?
-Joined at the Hip on Jonagold
Dear Joined at the Hip:
Yes, having Co-Trustees can be a logistical challenge. It is critical to look at what your Trust says. California’s Probate Code says that ALL Co-Trustees must take ALL actions unanimously unless your Trust provides otherwise.
In my experience, many Trusts are “silent” on this, and, by default, ALL Co-Trustees must participate. Banks and institutions are likely to require both Trustees to sign checks, sell real estate, and make trades. This can be a big headache, even if Trustees agree. What happens when one Trustee is hard to reach or lives far away?
One idea is for the Trust to state that only one Trustee signature be required, unless a Trustee objects and requests both signatures. This way, if both Trustees agree on an action, only one has to sign a document. However, if there is a disagreement, there is still a mechanism to require two signatures. Even this suggestion has pitfalls and requires further consideration. Let’s review your documents for customized advice!