When establishing a trust, choosing your successor trustee is one of the most crucial choices you will need to make. You can act as the trustee if your trust is a revocable living trust. However, you must name a successor trustee. The successor trustee will manage the trust on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation or passing.
The individual you select as your successor trustee should possess trustworthiness and sound financial judgment. You may choose to have just one successor trustee serve in the event of both incapacitation or passing. On the other hand, you may select two successor trustees. One will serve in the event of incapacitation, and the other will serve in the event of death.
Different Successor Trustees at Incapacity & Death
You may prefer to have a close family, like a child or spouse, serve as your trustee if you become incapacitated. Your trustee should know and understand your wishes and have your best interest at heart. However, if you’ve chosen a child or spouse to be your trustee during the event of incapacitation, you may not want them to serve as trustee in the event of your death for various reasons.
It might prove too challenging for them to assume the duties of trustee while coping with the grief and emotional distress of their loss. Furthermore, in the presence of any family conflicts or discord, appointing one of your children as the trustee could potentially lead to strained relationships, as the other children might harbor concerns about the impartial execution of the trustee’s responsibilities by their sibling. To avoid these situations, consider designating an individual whom you can rely on to demonstrate fairness and impartiality. In particular, a close friend, dependable business associate, or a qualified professional trustee may be a good option.
Estate Planning Tip
You may want to designate the same individual you’ve chosen as your trustee to serve as your agent under a financial power of attorney. Your agent under a financial power of attorney manages property, pays bills, and handles financial transactions on your behalf. You will want to ensure the individual you select to serve as your agent meets the same criteria that you would apply when naming a successor trustee: your agent should be a person you are confident in, someone who demonstrates honesty, dependability, and competence.
Same Successor Trustee at Incapacity & Death
If you feel comfortable designating the same successor trustee to serve in the event of both incapacity and death, the management of your trust will be more smooth. Rather than familiarizing two individuals with your matters, you only have to engage one person who is aware that they are the next in line to assume the role of trustee.
Law & Stein Can Help
Deciding upon your successor trustee is important as you establish your estate plan. We can help you decide on a successor trustee or multiple successor trustees, depending on the best choice for you and your family. Our objective is to assist you in realizing your wishes and preventing family conflicts after your passing. Contact us today to arrange your complimentary consultation.