Acting as trustee in Tennessee is typically a major commitment, and you want to make sure that whoever you choose will manage your assets carefully and make sure your beneficiaries are taken care of. Should you choose a family member for the job?

According to Forbes, there are some benefits and some downsides to choosing a family member.

Familiarity with the family

A family member may have a well-established relationship with the beneficiaries and is likely to understand the dynamics of the family. On the other hand, a family member may be more likely to be drawn into family drama that affects his or her ability to perform fiduciary duties impartially.

If you choose a legal or financial professional or entity, the person who works with the family may still be someone who is familiar with the family, especially if it is someone you have done business with for some time already. No matter how familiar, though, this person still has the advantage of an outsider’s opinion. This may prove invaluable if there is conflict between beneficiaries or disputes arise.


Anyone who serves as a trustee may take a fee, but a family member may forgo the entitlement and perform the duties at no charge. However, the extent of the responsibilities may lead the family member to become resentful of the lack of pay, even if he or she initially refused it. If the family member does take a fee, the beneficiaries may harbor some resentment in the perception that a family member is taking money they believe is due to them.

While hiring a professional comes at a cost, the knowledge and skill with which the person fulfilling the fiduciary responsibilities brings to the table may be well worth the expense. Every situation is different, though, and many people do have a family member or friend who is up to the task. Therefore, this general information should not be interpreted as legal advice.