Choosing someone to be a successor or backup trustee of your trust is not always easy. Trustees serve an important role—they are in charge of managing your assets and ensuring that your wishes are carried out. Successor trustees are also very important during times where you are incapacitated. Having successor trustees in place provides for a smooth and easy transition of control over your assets. This helps to ensure that your affairs continue to be managed responsibly when you are unable to do so yourself.
If you are struggling to choose someone to serve as a successor trustee further down in the chain of command, review these five tips:
- Consider using a corporate trustee if you are having difficulty naming someone personally. Corporate trustees are well versed in trust administration and can help to ensure that the tasks are carried out properly.
- Do not be overly caught up in the successor trustee’s resume. Ideally, in the event that this person is ever called upon to act, professional advisors such as attorneys, accountants, and financial planners will guide him.
- Consider giving your successor trustee the authority to appoint the backup trustee.
- Consider giving the beneficiaries of the trust the authority to choose a disinterested successor trustee by majority vote.
- Keep in mind that you can revise your choices at any time. Your trust is fully revocable and amendable until you die or become incapacitated.
Choosing a chain of command as part of your living trust is just one thing to consider during the planning process. Our free guide, The Ten Things You Must Know Before Creating (or Amending) a Will or Trust, offers additional helpful information.