The decision to choose more than one Successor Trustee to serve simultaneously may be based on several factors. Often one person possesses all the necessary skills to serve alone. If this is not the case, co-trustees can be appointed and trust responsibilities divided between them. For example, the Trustee that personally knows the beneficiaries the best can be assigned the responsibility of deciding when to distribute trust assets for their benefit. The Trustee that is most adept at financial matters can be assigned the responsibility for deciding how to invest trust assets. If co-trustees are appointed, the trust agreement should state the specific responsibilities of each Trustee and how joint decisions are to be made.
Another benefit of naming multiple co-trustees is that if one of them resigns, becomes disabled, or dies, the other co-trustee is already in place to continue the trust administration without any interruption. Without this protection, the beneficiaries must deal with the burden of deciding whom to appoint as a Successor Trustee.
A final benefit of naming co-trustees is that they can monitor each other so that trust assets are managed and distributed as the Trustmaker intended. Many believe that it is simply good policy to make sure that multiple individuals are jointly responsible for the trust’s administration as it can help prevent the mismanagement, misuse, or theft of the trust’s assets.