Ten Instructions to Give to Your Successor Trustees

As you sit down to create your estate plan, you may find yourself considering a living trust. Trusts are a valuable tool in an estate plan because they give you a level of control over the distribution of your assets for a longer period of time than is provided for under your will. In the trust itself, you can lay out a list of instructions for your future trustees to abide by as they administer the trust.

Ten Examples of Instructions to Give Your Trustee

Are you wondering what types of instructions you can give to your successor trustees during a trust administration? There are many options available, and many are unique to the particular facts and circumstances surrounding your estate. Following are 10 of the more common trustee instructions:

  1. Who to distribute your assets to.
  2. When to distribute those assets.
  3. Which assets should be used to pay debts of your estate, if any.
  4. Whether future generations should inherit the assets of your initial beneficiaries if those individuals do not survive you.
  5. Guidance on decision making if you give your trustee the authority to make discretionary distributions.
  6. Whether you want the trustee to prioritize certain goals or needs when making discretionary distributions.
  7. Whether the trustee can withhold distributions in certain situations, such as a bankruptcy, pending lawsuit, or divorce of a beneficiary.
  8. Whether the trustee has the authority to make certain tax elections for the benefit of the beneficiaries or the trust.
  9. Who should receive your assets if none of your named beneficiaries survive you.
  10. Whether the trustee can opt to terminate the trust if the trust assets are substantially diminished.

Trusts are unique from many other types of estate planning documents because the options for what you can do with the document are so extensive. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you understand these options as you create your estate plan. Fortunately, we are here to help your family create the estate plan that is right for you, just as we have helped countless other clients. We invite you to view our client testimonials page to hear more from our former clients about our services.