Although there are a number of advantages associated with electing to have a bank or trust company serve as the institutional fiduciary of your Pennsylvania estate or trustee, there are also several potential pitfalls that could jeopardize your intentions for your assets.

Trust Law - Pitfalls to Beware

First, institutional fiduciaries tend to be inflexible, which can work against you if you need a variety of investing and managing solutions for your estate, guardianship, or trust.

Although you can leave a Letter of Intent with your will that sets out specific guidelines for how your assets and estate are to be distributed, this should be drafted with a Pennsylvania trust attorney so that it’s not misconstrued or successfully challenged.

Furthermore, institutional fiduciary services are generally more costly than individual services. Depending on the nature of your estate, however, you may spend just as much money in professional fees to hire people to assist your executor or successor trustee.

If you have a large or complex estate plan, it may be worth the extra up front to know your representative has the personnel and resources to accomplish all the tasks associated with administering your estate.

Finally, institutions can cause increased delays. One of the benefits of using a trust to pass assets to heirs is that it expedites the process outside of probate court, but when decisions are made by a committee, as is often the case with bank and trust companies, delays are inevitable.

Estate and Trust Law Assistance from a Pennsylvania Trust Attorney

Before you decide to name a bank or trust company as your executor, speak with a Pennsylvania probate attorney who understands trust law and can fully educate you on all the facets of the executor responsibilities and duties so that you can make a fully informed decision. Call or email our offices to schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated attorneys – 1-610-933-8069.


David M. Frees, III
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Attorney, Speaker and Author