If you plan on establishing a trust, you’re going to need to name a trustee.
If you decide to establish a revocable living trust, chances are, you’re going to name yourself. This will allow you to continue to manage your financial affairs.
However, there may come a time in your life when you’re unable to do this on your own due to illness or incapacity. You’ll also need someone who can manage your trust after your death.
This may have you wondering who you should name as a trustee. Remember, since the named trustee will have a lot of responsibility, you’ll want to choose carefully.
Trustee in the event of incapacitation
If you become incapacitated due to illness or injury, the person who has been named as your trustee will take control of your finances. This person will have the authority to pay your bills, access your accounts and make financial decisions on your behalf. They will even be permitted to sell or refinance your assets.
Ultimately, this person will have the legal authority to make all the financial decisions you would—so long as these decisions aren’t in conflict with the instructions you outlined in the trust document. If these decisions do not breach fiduciary duty, they’re in the clear.
Trustee in the event of death
When you choose a successor, they will act just like an executor. They’ll take inventory of your various assets, pay final bills and sell your assets if necessary.
The successor will also be responsible for having your final tax returns prepared in addition to distributing your remaining assets according to the instructions that have been outlined in your trust.
When you choose your successor, you’ll want to keep in mind that he or she will be permitted to act without court supervision. This will allow your affairs to be handled both privately and efficiently. For most people, this is the reason they decide to establish a living trust in the first place.
It’s also worth noting you’ll want to name someone who is thoughtful, organized and responsible, because it will be up to them to get these processes started. They don’t necessarily need to know what to do and when to do it (because they’ll be able to receive guidance from your attorney and/or CPA), but you do need to feel comfortable that this person will be able to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.
Who can be a successor trustee?
When most people choose a successor trustee they decided to name adult children, relatives or friends and in some cases, a bank trust or a trust company. If you do choose an individual it’s recommended you choose more than one, in the event your first choice isn’t able to carry out their successor responsibilities.
Have questions? Call The Law Network PC today
If you need help establishing a trust and you have questions about who you should name as your trustee and/or successor, call the Law Network PC today at 303-267-1111 to learn more.