What You Need To Know About Successor Trustees

Posted on: 16 December 2022

Choosing a trustee for your estate is one of the most important parts of estate planning. A trustee is a person who manages a trust for another person. You can be your own trustee while you are alive and are of sound mind to manage your own affairs. However, you also need to choose a successor trustee. This is the person who will manage your trust once you pass away or if you are no longer able to manage your own affairs. Here is what you need to know about successor trustees:

Why Should You Have a Successor Trustee?

Once you open a trust, you are the person who manages it. A trust will hold many important assets and essentially dictate what happens to these assets after you pass away. You need to select a successor trustee to ensure no parts of your trust is interrupted once you pass away. For example, if money from your trust is used to provide financial support to someone, having a successor trustee in place will ensure that financial support does not have to stop while your estate goes through probate.

Who Should You Choose to Be Your Successor Trustee?

A successor trustee can be anyone of your choosing. You can also elect to have an institution be your successor trustee. The successor trustee can be your spouse, your adult children, a trusted friend or loved one, or an attorney. You can choose to have more than one successor trustee as well. 

How Do You Choose Your Successor Trustee?

To choose your successor trustee, you simply need to provide their names when you create the trust. Before you name trustees, make sure you ask them beforehand if they are willing to take on this important role. They must provide acceptance in writing to officially become a successor trustee. If you do not pick a successor trustee when you open a trust, the court will choose one or your heirs can choose someone to act in this role. Be thoughtful as you make this decision, as you cannot change the trustee without amending the trust.

Can Anyone Change Your Trustee?

If any of your potential beneficiaries are unhappy about your choice of successor trust or do not agree with the person you chose, they cannot make any changes to the trustee without written consent from you. If you do not allow for any changes to the name of the successor trustee, no one can make a change, even after you pass away.

Speak to a probate law service to learn more.