Six Steps to Accepting an Appointment as Trustee

During the administration of your loved one’s trust, there will come a time when a successor trustee must be appointed. In most cases, your loved one will have served as the initial trustee. Disability, death, and other reasons may cause your loved one to no longer be able to fulfill this role. At that point, you can accept the appointment as successor trustee and assume the duties that accompany that role.

Step-by-Step Guide to Accepting a Trustee Appointment

The next steps for accepting the appointment of a trustee are not difficult; however, meeting an attorney is advisable. He or she can help ensure that the process is carried out properly. The following is a general guide to this process:

  1. If the change in trustees is due to the incapacity of the original trustee, follow the proper procedures for verifying the incapacity. The trust itself will typically dictate how this is to be done. For example, the trust may read that the decision of two medical professionals is sufficient to determine disability.
  2. If the change in trustees is due to the resignation of the original trustee, obtain a signed Trustee Resignation form from the departing trustee.
  3. Prepare a Trustee Acceptance form and sign the form—if requested, have it notarized.
  4. Notify the beneficiaries of the trust, in writing, of the change in trustees. You may also need to notify certain other interested parties as well.
  5. If the change in trustees is due to the death of the creator of the trust, there is no additional step that needs to be taken short of verifying the death.
  6. If the trust does not appoint a successor trustee, you must follow the requirements outlined in the trust for vacancies in the role of trustee, or petition the court for guidance.

When you are ready to step in as successor trustee of a trust, it is important to have legal guidance at your disposal. We encourage you to contact us for guidance. Our experienced legal team is standing by to help.

 

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm