If so, you have undergone the difficult task of deciding who will handle your Living Trust when you are no longer able. The position of Successor Trustee is a huge responsibility, and it is imperative that you pick the right person for the post.
Characteristics of your Successor Trustee
Your Successor Trustee must be someone who is loyal to you first and to your beneficiaries second. He or she must also be honest and organized in order to handle estate paperwork and funds. Perhaps the most important and often overlooked attribute of a Trustee is the ability to be both fair-minded and tough. Your Trustee may often have to settle family disagreements regarding your estate. Think of your Trustee like a judge, he or she must always do what is right for your estate, but must also take into consideration the thoughts and feelings of each of your heirs.
While you are alive and healthy, your Trust will remain in your control. If you should become incapacitated mentally or physically, your Trustee can step up to make financial decisions. It is crucial that your Trustee keep your interest in mind at all times.
While you are disabled, Trustee duties will focus on maintaining your assets and paying your bills. Duties may also include the management and investment of your retirement and financial accounts for the purpose of creating additional income for your care and for your family.
After Death Duties
The duties of your Successor Trustee after your death (when your trust becomes irrevocable) are very similar to those of an estate executor except actions will occur outside of probate. Your Trustee will use your Trust agreement to honor your last requests, pay all final expenses, debts and taxes, and pass out inheritances to your loved ones.
Helpful resources for both you and your Successor Trustee:
- Attend one our free seminars– “The ABC’s Of Successfully Acting As Successor Trustee” This very popular seminar is only offered 4 times a year. The next seminar will be held on April 18th or 23rd at 2:00 pm.
- Read this article “I’ve Been Named Trustee – Now What?”
- Obtain a Successor Trustee Manual to assist in trust administration.
- Ask your attorney if they have an Estate Plan Maintenance Program to be sure your plan is reviewed regularly.