Naming a Successor Trustee
A successor trustee is charged with administering a trust after the trustor (the person or entity who creates a trust) dies. Careful consideration should be given to choosing someone for this role.
- Depending on the complexity of the estate, the successor trustee role can become demanding and time-consuming.
- It’s not unusual to turn to a fiduciary or financial adviser to help manage the estate.
- Choosing a successor trustee who’s retired or who doesn’t work outside the home can be a good choice.
- If there are real property and other investments, you may want to consider naming someone with a financial background.
Naming a backup successor trustee
It’s always a good idea to name a backup successor trustee, especially if you’ve named a successor trustee who’s older or who has health problems.
The importance of proving testamentary capacity in legal matters
For the power of attorney and trust documents to be legal, the person signing them must be of sound mind, able to show “testamentary capacity”, or they can’t be upheld in court. For those who are caregivers, this is especially critical. If someone in your family is showing signs of dementia, it is important that he/she create and sign estate-planning documents as soon as possible. Responsible providers know how to recognize signs of cognitive impairment and will refuse to create legal documents for those they believe no longer have the legal and mental ability to make a will or living trust.
A note of caution: You’re the owner of your estate-planning documents
Your trust, power of attorney and other estate-planning documents are not filed with the county or other government agency. If you can’t find your trust, it doesn’t exist. Once you complete your living trust, Guideway prepares a bound copy of your legal documents for you. You will also be given the trust as a pdf file. Keep your trust in a secure place and share its location with a family member or someone you trust.
Living Trust: When Naming a Successor Trustee, Plan to Also Identify a Backup