Choosing a Pooled Trust or Special Needs Trust Trustee

I’ve been working on a new presentation that I will be doing at the Family Café this summer titled “What to ask your special needs lawyer?”  It has me thinking about what questions individuals, their family members and their attorneys should be asking when “Choosing a Pooled Trust or Special Needs Trust Trustee.

You should:

Ask about a track record – How long has this Pooled Trust been in existence?  How many beneficiaries do they serve, how much money do they handle?  Who is investing the money?  Check out the financial advisor’s background.  What is the historical investment returns over the past year, three years, five years and ten years?  If they don’t have a track record they can share with you, be skeptical.

Ask about insurance – Do they have Errors and Omissions coverage, a Fidelity (theft) policy, Professional Liability insurance, and Cyber Crimes insurance?  If so, how much do their policies cover?  If not, move on; you should not trust them with your or your client’s money.

Ask about safeguards like auditing, checks and balances – Do they have an outside professional audit of their procedures and accounts?  How do we know what they are telling us is true if there is not an unbiased set of professional eyes looking at everything?

Ask about a succession plan – Who are the key individuals involved and what happens if something happens to them?  Who will keep the business going and are those people qualified?

Ask about what expenses are not included in the published fee schedule – Many trusts charge for investments, postage, phone calls, check writing, quick turn around times to requests and accountings.  If you just compare published fee schedules you may not be comparing apples to apples.

We are regularly brainstorming ideas on how to remain a leader in the world of Special Needs Trust administration and customer service. We hope to see you in Orlando in June!

Travis D. Finchum
Board Certified Elder Law AttorneyCo-Trustee, Guardian Trust


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