Can my accountant or lawyer act as my Trustee?
Sometimes a client can get the best of both worlds in terms of technical competence and familiarity with his or her family situation by nominating a personal accountant or lawyer to act as Trustee. The accountant or lawyer, however, must not make the decision to serve lightly as there are possible business and legal consequences of serving as a Trustee of a client's trust.
Firstly, the accountant or lawyer may make significantly less in compensation by serving as a Trustee than he or she would by servicing new or existing clients. So, at least from a business perspective, the accountant or lawyer may be reluctant to agree. Secondly, if the accountant or lawyer knows the client has complicated family dynamics, he or she may decline on the theory that it is better to stay out of family disagreements and maintain at least a semblance of fair relationship with all members of the family. Finally, the accountant or lawyer may be exposed to increased liability (beyond those expected of his profession) by acting as Trustee (not to mention the fact that the accountant's or lawyer's professional liability insurance may not cover situations where he or she is serving as Trustee).
Despite the foregoing factors, accountants and lawyers do frequently serve as Trustee of their client's trust and often the administration process is carried out efficiently both because of the professional's technical understanding and familiarity with the client and the client's family.