The Trustee and Your Property
As stated earlier, there are two things the trustee must do with your trust property. He must manage the trust property with reasonable care, and follow the instructions you have put in the trust document. When you create your trust, you will define the management powers of your trustee.
Selling the Property
There are several reasons you might prohibit your trustee from selling your property. For instance, it might be your goal to keep the trust property in the family, but you want to make sure the beneficiaries are old enough to properly care for that property. Therefore, you place the property in trust and instruct the trustee to distribute it to your beneficiaries at a later time. Or you may feel that it is the best choice to make sure the trust property is not sold for a period of time because you feel that the particular property will provide the best income or security for your beneficiaries.
You don't have to name a professional to act as your co-trustee. You may have two children whom you feel would bring different talents to the job. Therefore, you name both children to act as co-trustees. You need to make sure that the two persons you name can work together. Unless you specify differently in your trust document, the co-trustees must make all decisions together.
Dividing Your Property
Whether or not your property is physically divided depends on the instructions you put in your trust document. Some types of property can be easily divided. If your goal is to make certain a beneficiary receives a portion of a specific piece of property, instruct the trustee not to sell the property but to physically divide the trust property among the beneficiaries.
Even after the beneficiaries and the trustee present their side of the argument to the judge, if your instructions were not clear or there were no specific instructions, the judge will often order the property sold, and the proceeds divided among the beneficiaries.
Remember those sheets of paper that describe each piece of property you own? You can make notes on the pieces of paper about whether you would like the trustee to sell that piece of property, divide the property among your beneficiaries, or distribute it to a particular beneficiary. The more thought you put into the instructions you give your trustee about your property, the less likely it is your beneficiaries will disagree after you are gone.