How do I get a hold of my Trustee? Phone, fax, letter, email?
This article will explain how to get the FASTEST response from your Trustee on any question:
Your trust is a major financial asset and if you have an important question about it, you’ll need the fastest response you can get. What can YOU do to make sure that happens?
Simple … follow these steps:
E-mail is the first and fastest choice.
- You get your question to the trustee instantly.
- You can “cc” your other advisors or family members.
- You can go back to your email, noting the date and time it was sent, and re-forward it as a reminder if need be.
- You’ll have an email response by the trustee to refer to.
- No hunting down paper trails.
- You can mark your emails “return receipt requested” to make sure it was received and read by your Trustee.
- You can also mark your emails “urgent” with a red flag or exclamation point
But what about the Trustee?
The Trustee will benefit too Why?
- The trustee can easily forward your request to his or her assistant to pull together the file and draft a response.
- The trustee can also easily forward it to other advisors (for example, the trust investment manager) and get their input.
- The trustee can also keep a dated record of conversations with beneficiaries.
Remember, trustees are generally “procedure” oriented. This is a typical personality trait of good trustees. They are diligent and follow through. So it is in your best interest to make it easy for them to respond to your request.
If for any reason, you don’t have an email account, you can set one up for free at Google. Simply select the “gmail” tab and you can set one up in minutes.
If your trustee doesn’t have email, you may ask him or her to set up an email account using the same method.
If not, we recommend the second choice: faxing.
Faxing of course requires added steps. You would type your request on a word processor, as you would any other letter. You would then fax your request to the trustee and allow them to respond.
If you don’t have a home fax machine, we recommend using eFax which is a low cost fax service that allows you to send and receive all faxes through your email account.
Again, you will have a record in your email account and will not be “hunting down” that last letter to the trustee.
If faxing does not work for you or your trustee, you can always mail your request via U.S. postal service or express mail service. This requires more steps, expense and delays and we don’t recommend it unless there is no other choice.
Lastly, is the phone call. Simply put, please don’t phone the trustee until you’ve given them a chance to review your request.
What often happens when you call the trustee “cold” is that he or she is not prepared to take your call. They do not have your trust file in front of them because they are working on other things. You may launch into a long discussion of what brought about the request and the best the trustee can do is scribble down some notes. If you are dealing with a bank trustee, they will need a written request from you anyway, for internal compliance reasons. So please don’t waste time with phone calls unless they are of a “following up” nature.
So get your email account ready and write out your questions. More on how to do that in “The Three P’s of Communicating With Your Trustee”.