How to Name a Trustee Successor
When you have a will or trust, you’ll want to name a trustee successor who can manage your trust or estate following your passing away or if you become incapacitated. Regardless of your estate or how many assets you have, the role of a trustee successor is a huge task. While it’s very common to name a beneficiary as a trustee successor–such as a son or daughter–it’s not always recommended. We’ll break down the qualities you should look for in a trustee successor.
Traits a Trustee Successor Should Have
To begin with, when you name a trustee successor you should be sure that you can trust them. Not only should they have the necessary skills, but they should also have the best interest of you, your estate, and your beneficiaries. While no one can serve exactly as yourself, your trustee successor should have a clear idea of how you would have acted.
In addition to having the best intentions, your successor should also have the following traits:
- Financially responsible
- Enough time available to handle the responsibilities
- Has a good business sense
- Will be passionate about handling your estate/assets
Another important aspect is naming a trustee successor who knows when it’s time to seek outside help. While it’s good to name someone with extensive financial and maybe even legal knowledge, it’s not always necessary. Being responsible, having good intentions, and knowing your wishes are half the battle.
The other half of the battle may often be enlisting the help of CPAs, attorneys, and other advisors. To make the process easier for your trustee, you should also clearly detail key aspects like how you want assets to be divided in your will and talk with them beforehand.
Other Considerations to Have
When naming a trustee successor there are also other considerations to have in mind:
- Naming more than one trustee: In most cases, you’ll only want to name one trustee successor. However, it’s perfectly legal to have more than one trustee. For example, if you have two children you might decide to name them both trustees to avoid any conflicts.
- Naming an institution as a trustee: While an institution such as a bank or a private trust services company will often charge hefty fees, sometimes this is the better alternative. In situations where you don’t have a family member or trusted friend, an institution can handle your trust. For larger trusts, you can name both an institution and a person. Typically this means that an institution like a bank will do all the paperwork while the person approves their transactions.
- Having an alternative successor trustee: Sometimes something might happen to your preferred trustee successor. They may pass away or find themselves incapacitated or they may decide that the responsibility is too much. Having an alternative trustee successor can prevent this problem.
There are many considerations to have in mind before naming a trustee successor. To make the process easier, hiring a trust lawyer can significantly alleviate stress. Our friends at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC have a team of lawyers ready to assist!