Ask Terry Questions Living Trust

Living Trust

By Terry Savage on May 12, 2017 | Financial Planning / Retirement

Hi Terry, I am 60 years old and currently I handle all my own Investments through Charles Schwab and Fidelity. I also have online savings at Synchrony and Ally to maximize the rates I receive. I do my own, as well as my son's and daughters taxes using TurboTax. My wife and I each have a seperate Recocable Living Trust and we have everything titled properly in the trust name. Since I handle everything personally, and I feel I have done a good job, lately I have been thinking "what would my wife or children do if something happened to me? Would they know how to handle the investments, would they know how to get the taxes done?" I am very maticulous in keeping records and each year I put all the tax records on a cd. Since we have the Living Trusts, should I have a trust company named as a trustee in addition to my son so he would have someone to assist him? Would my wife be able to also go this bank for help with financial questions and tax help? Would it be better to have an attorney and or a CPA help when needed. I feel it would be best that I have a good idea now so that I could tell them who they could turn to when the need arises s o they don't go to someone who may take advantage of them. I appreciate your help.

Terry Says

Oh, that is such an important question.  You've done everything right so far.  But would your family members be able to judge the quality of those who "come out of the woodwork" to advise them if something happens to you.  Having a trusted and competent person to help is very important.  They don't necessarily have to be listed as co-trustees of your RLT, but you and your spouse should be meeting with them at least annually to familiarize them with your situation -- and so your wife and son can get to know them. Now, WHO should this be?  It could be your estate planning attorney, IF you have a personal and ongoing relationship.  Since you do your own taxes, you likely don't have a CPA.  A "banker" in the traditional sense won't be able to give advice.  And if y our heirs walk into the bank, they will likely be directed to a "broker" within the bank's offices.  That broker will be a salesperson, not a fiduciary -- there to sell products on a commission! So if you don't have a "ready-made" advisor for your family, now is the time to get one!  You can always benefit from another look at your plans.  And once you establish a relationship, the transition will be easier for your heirs.  Fortunately you have the time and smarts to get this done while you are still in control.  Do some interviews, ask friends for recommendations.  And go to the website of financial planners who do not sell products.   Also go to to learn more about what questions to ask a prospective advisor, and how to check an advisor's background.

Recent Financial Planning / Retirement Questions



a personal
finance question