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Revocable Living Trusts and The Trustee: Who Should I Pick as Successor Trustee?

Moses Estate Planning May 10, 2019

The Trustee of a Trust is the person in charge, the manager, the mover and shaker when it comes to fulfilling the intent of the Trust. The Settlors (those creating the Revocable Living Trust) will need to consider and ultimately pick who will be the Trustee of their Trust. As I’ve mentioned before, if you don’t proactively state your wishes in the Trust, many times the Court may be making certain choices for you. That being said, Many times, married Settlors elect to have themselves be the initial Co-Trustees of their Trust, as they will be making decisions about the Trust and managing the assets during their lives for their benefit. However, it is important to consider who will act as Trustee if the Settlors become unable to act, either due to illness, incapacity, or another reason.

The backup Trustee is called a Successor Trustee, and can be a trusted family member or friend, or can also be a third-party professional such as a professional fiduciary or bank. The Trust will have specific language discussing resignation of Trustees, appointment of new Trustees should the current Trustee be unwilling or unable to perform their duties, and removal of Trustees if issues arise. When considering who to nominate as Successor Trustee, it is important to note that being a Trustee comes with a big responsibility.

Administering the Trust and making sure the Settlor’s wishes are adhered to will take a significant amount of time, so picking an individual who the Settlors trust to be dedicated to ensuring their wishes are executed is essential. It is also important to consider the likely age of the Successor Trustee when he or she will be acting in this role. If the Settlors do not have a trusted individual in mind, they may wish to consider using a third-party Trust company to act as a professional Trustee.

All of these considerations should be discussed with your Estate Planning Attorney to determine what is the right path for you in picking your Trustee. Feel free to reach out to Moses Estate Planning to speak to an Estate Planning Attorney about your matter today!