Can a Beneficiary of a Trust Also Be a Trustee?

A beneficiary of a trust can also serve as the trustee or executor. However, the setup allows for a potential conflict of interest, as the trustee is responsible for acting in an equal and unemotional manner towards each of the beneficiaries.

To avoid a biased approach as both beneficiary and trustee, it is important the trustee takes measures to safeguard his position, explain the attorneys at Beers Mallers Backs and Salin, LLP. Such steps include: choosing an estate planning attorney to mediate or oversee the process, using fair methods for dividing unassigned personal property with emotional value and involving an impartial appraiser if real property is involved. If an individual feels he cannot impartially act in both positions, it is recommended an impartial party is assigned to serve as trustee.