How to pick right trustee

Dear Dave,

I’m going through a divorce, and I’m about to buy a $600,000 life insurance policy. My 9-year-old daughter would be the beneficiary. I need a trustee, but how do I pick a good one?

Marie Dear Marie,

First, your daughter wouldn’t be the beneficiary. You would leave it in a trust for her benefit. And I’m not sure I’d depend on an ex-husband to handle something that requires this much integrity. You’d be better off hiring a good attorney to execute the trust upon your death, or you can look for a bank that has a trust department.

Once you decide on a trustee, you must remember to clearly and specifically state what you want done with the money. Don’t say to invest the money appropriately, because what a banker views as an appropriate investment and what I view as an appropriate invest are usually very different. A banker might put the money in CDs, or certificates of deposit, while I’d probably look at something like mutual funds, which have a much better rate of return.

In many cases, a trust for a child is put in place to pay for their first car, a medical situation or their college education, but this is completely up to you. The balance of the money might go to them when they reach age 21, while they receive a monthly stipend for food and other essentials while they’re younger.

I’m proud of you for thinking ahead, Marie. I know divorce is hard, but your little girl is lucky to have such a good and caring mom on her side!

—Dave

Dave Ramsey is a trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5,000,000 listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.


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2012-11-29 digital edition



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