Definition - What does Independent Trustee mean?
An independent trustee is an appointed individual within a will of a person that has no direct or indirect interest in the outcome of probate. This is a strict interpretation that a person cannot have an indirect interest in the claim means that spouses of beneficiaries are not allowed to be considered as the indirect trustee nor are beneficiaries of the will. The reason an independent trustee is put in place is to ensure that there is a fair and equitable distribution of assets upon a person's death and that the strict terms of the will are adhered to as per the order of the deceased.
Justipedia explains Independent Trustee
Independent trustees are usually named at the time of death and distribution of the will so that there is no chance that the person could become vested through the creation of any form of relationship with a vested beneficiary within the will. It is common for the independent trustee to be the attorney or a person within the law firm that created and witnessed the will. In this way, it is believed that the deceased person's wishes will be followed. This prevents an unfair distribution of any of the deceased's estate and allows for a faster probate. Independent trustees are usually allocated a nominal sum for the role as covered by law but is a proscribed amount that is consistent within the country or state the will is drawn up and disbursed in.