The Responsibilities of a Substitute Trustee

August 31, 2018 in Uncategorized | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

Estate Lawyers

When thinking about the future of your family, it can be difficult to imagine how you want things to be when you are no longer here. Those who want to ensure part of their legacy is passed on to certain loved ones often meet with an attorney for assistance in writing a living trust. In such a document, you are to name yourself as the trustee so you still have control over your assets. Then, the person you appoint as the successor trustee is who shall handle your finances and follow the wishes as described in your trust after you pass on.

Below we have provided more information about the role and potential characteristics of your chosen successor trustee.

Duties of a Successor Trustee

Your successor trustee has a very important role to play in carrying out your wishes as requested in your trust. The person you appoint should be someone you can rely on to not breach his or her fiduciary duty when handling your assets. This duty is a legal obligation to act based on what is in your best interest. Other duties your successor trustee may be responsible for are listed as follows:

  • Paying outstanding debts to creditors
  • Filing decedent’s final income tax return
  • Handling paying remaining bills
  • Transferring assets to designated beneficiaries
  • Meeting with beneficiaries or loved ones
  • Requesting appraisals (for collections, artwork, treasures, property)
  • Choosing to sell assets to help pay off debts

The Appeal of Trusts

Many people choose to create a living trust because of the level of privacy it offers. The successor of the trustee can handle the trust without being supervised by the court system. Even established wills sometimes have to go through probate court, where the will is evaluated for validity and beneficiaries receive their portion of assets only after judge approval. With a living trust, these regulations do not apply.

Who To Choose as Your Successor

The person you appoint to handle your assets and wishes after you pass, all depends on your personal preference. There is no rule about who you can or cannot choose to fulfill this role. However, this person must be of legal adult age and should have your best interest in mind always. Your successor does not have to be experienced in legalities either, as an attorney can be of guidance. Other characteristics of the right successor for you may include:

  • Conscientious
  • Detail-oriented
  • Reliable & responsible
  • Maintains integrity
  • Has sound judgement
  • Can be objective

Writing a living trust can seem like a daunting and complicated task. Not only that, but it can be an emotional one as well. A New Jersey trust lawyer can help you keep things moving when you get stuck, and answer any questions you have along the way. We like to offer free consultations for all new clients, as a way to get to know us and our services better. We would be happy to meet with you to talk further about how we can be of help, as you establish this very important document.



Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.


Disclaimer: Using this contact form or any page of MartinWren, P.C.’s website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.  Please do not submit any confidential, privileged, or other protected information until and unless you have completed a private consultation with a MartinWren, P.C. attorney, the attorney has informed you that no conflict of interest exists, and the attorney notifies you that the firm can take your case. By completing this form you agree that we can follow up with you by phone, email, or by text messaging.

    *Please enter your initials to acknowledge that you have read and understood the Disclaimer above:

    To schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

    latest firm news