Those with revocable living trusts need a successor trustee

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Estate Planning |

There are many estate planning solutions that work for people in different situations. For example, trusts are useful for people who want to qualify for certain kinds of aid later in life, protect assets from collection activity or control what happens to their property after they die.

Those who would like to alter the ownership of certain assets but retain control over them while they are still alive might decide to create a revocable living trust. They can serve as the trustee for as long as they are alive and retain their testamentary capacity. That will allow them to control the assets used to fund the trust and to potentially make changes to the trust when necessary.

One of the most important considerations when creating a revocable living trust is the need for a successor trustee. Choosing the right person for that role can be as important as putting the right paperwork in place for the trust itself.

What is a successor trustee?

As the name implies, a successor trustee is someone who takes over the role of trustee when the initial trustee or creator of a revocable living trust can no longer manage the trust. Oftentimes, the successor trustee takes over trust administration after someone dies. However, they may also step into their role of actively managing and distributing assets when someone becomes incapacitated and can no longer manage their own affairs.

Who is the right choice?

Obviously, the person tasked with administering someone’s trust during their incapacity or after their death should be someone trustworthy and competent. They will also need to be young and healthy enough to accept that role for a reasonable amount of time in the future. Many people creating a trust choose not to use an immediate member of their family who would benefit from the trust as trustee but rather a trusted but more distant family member or close social equations. In some cases, people even elect to hire a professional fiduciary to manage the trust after their death or incapacitation.

Recognizing the importance of choosing the right successor trustee can be important for the person trying to create an effective revocable living trust as part of their estate plan. As a result, seeking legal guidance if one has questions when making a selection can be very important too.