How Do I Choose a Successor Trustee?

naming trustees

It’s important to pick the right person when you are choosing a successor trustee. If you currently manage your own trusts and assets, there will come a day when you are no longer capable or willing to take care of these financial matters on your own. This is when a successor trustee steps in. A Woodland Hills trust attorney can tell you more about how this works and what you should look for in a trustee.

What Does a Successor Trustee Do?

A successor trustee takes over your trust for you after you can no longer manage it. They can then:

  • Pay any bills you receive
  • Make financial decisions for you
  • Sell or refinance assets
  • Handle your affairs and finances once you pass away

They essentially act as your executor when you pass away, taking inventory of your final assets and paying off any remaining obligations. The difference between a successor trustee and an executor is that a successor trustee can take over your trust while you are still alive, though this usually only happens when you are incapacitated.

Another important thing to note is that a trustee has to follow the rules that you set out when you made the trust. So they have some leeway when making financial decisions, but they still must respect your wishes.

Who Can I Choose to Be a Successor Trustee?

When choosing a successor trustee, you should find someone with good business sense who can take on the obligations of the role. Being a trustee is not always easy and it will take time out of someone’s day. If you think that someone might not be a good fit because of their career or family obligations, you should talk to them before considering them for any kind of trustee role.

As for who can be a trustee, any competent adult relative or friend can fill the role. You can also choose a corporate trustee, like a bank trust department or a trust company.

Can I Pick a Backup Trustee?

No matter who you choose, you should also choose a backup. If someone cannot serve as your successor trustee, having a second choice available cuts down on confusion and could help your family avoid any in-fighting.

Do I Need an Estate Lawyer?

Having an estate lawyer to set up your trust and explore all of the available estate planning tools with you is practically a necessity. We can help you make the proper arrangements so that you do not have to worry about assets falling into the wrong hands once you can no longer manage your estate and finances yourself.

Talk to an Attorney Today

If you have questions about trusts or estate planning in general, contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman. We can schedule a consultation and help you figure out the best ways to plan out your estate, protect your assets, and leave things behind for your loved ones. Reach out to our estate planning lawyers today.

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