What is a Successor Trustee?
You have been named as a Successor Trustee by a friend or a family member in their Revocable Living Trust — now what?
What should you do? Here’s what you need to know about being a Successor Trustee.
What are the Successor Trustee’s duties?
The successor trustee’s duties depend on the terms of the, on state laws and on whether the Grantor has passed away or is still living but is incapacitated.
As a general rule, the Successor Trustee is required to administer the trust and exercise their powers for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries. The Successor Trustee must not act out of personal interest unless the Trust specifically authorizes it. Below is a list of a Successor Trustee’s duties:
What are the Successor Trustee’s duties when the Trust Creator is deceased?
When the Trust Creator has passed away, the Successor Trustee is usually responsible for the distribution of the assets in the trust according to the Trust Creator’s instructions. The Successor Trustee is also responsible for protecting the trust assets from waste and loss. The Successor Trustee should typically carry out the following —
1. Notify the Grantor’s family and loved ones that you are the Successor Trustee.
2. Provide copies of the Trust to the beneficiaries
3. Obtain certified copies of the Trust Creator’s death certificate to prove the Successor Trustee’s legal authority to administer the trust
4. Document information about the assets and other property held in the trust
5. Notify banks, social security, insurance, retirement plans and other organizations that may hold assets and benefits for the Trust Creator and secure access to them.
6. Pay for any outstanding bills and taxes on behalf of the Trust Creator using the Trust and make sure to keep the proof of payment.
7. Secure the closure of the Trust Creator’s accounts such as utility bills and credit cards.
8. Distribute specific pieces of property in the trust to the beneficiaries specified in the Trust.
9. Provide periodic and accurate accounting of the trust to beneficiaries.
What are the Successor Trustee’s duties when the Trust Creator is still living but incapacitated?
When the Trust Creator is incapacitated but still living, the Successor Trustee is usually directed by the Trust to use the trust property for the Trust Creator’s care. The Successor Trustee may also be instructed to use trust property to provide for the needs of the Trust Creator’s family. Also, the Successor Trustee should typically carry out the following duties —
2. Provide copies of the Trust to the beneficiaries.
3. Document information about the assets and other property held in the trust.
4. Notify banks, social security, insurance, retirement plans and other organizations that may hold assets and benefits for the Trust Creator and secure the access to them.
5. Process claims for any medical and disability benefits that the Trust Creator may be entitled to.
6. Secure any financial or healthcare Powers of Attorney to carry out the Trust Creator’s instructions
7. Document receipts and records of any expenses made in the course of carrying out instructions as indicated in the Trust
Are you obligated to serve as a Successor Trustee?
No, you are not obligated to accept the role of a Successor Trustee just because you were nominated. If you choose to decline, the next Alternate Successor Trustee named in Trust who is willing to serve will be appointed for the role.
What should you do now?
Seek the advice of a qualified attorney to know more about your duties and responsibilities as Successor Trustee and for any assistance with your specific case. Schedule your consultation today with our team at Crider Law.