Navigating the complexities of a revocable living trust can present numerous challenges. When it comes to naming a successor trustee, not just anyone can take on this important role. The trustee must be confident that the individual can handle not only the responsibilities but also the time commitment. Upon your death or mental incapacity, the successor trustee assumes control.
Specific duties include the following:
- Locating and protecting trust assets
- Identifying if probate is necessary
- Valuing assets and appraising real estate and business-related interests
- Paying debts and any income or estate tax liabilities
- Filing income and estate tax returns
- Paying ongoing expenses throughout the life of the trust
- Ongoing investment and management of trust assets for beneficiaries
Naming backup trustees is equally vital if the first person named refuses or cannot take on the role. Any and all candidates should be made aware of their possible selection to see if they are willing to serve.
The Responsibilities of a Successor Trustee
Once formally appointed, the successor trustee either settles or continues to administer the trust. Everything that the individual does must abide by the language of the formation documents. The job could be as simple as transferring all assets and property to beneficiaries and closing the trust.
More complicated trusts involve minor children. Providing money for their care is paramount. Proper management over time by the successor trustee could generate sufficient income for all who will financially benefit from the trust. When children reach a certain age – usually specified in the documents – they can receive their inheritances.
Taking on a vital role that impacts the lives of others is not something to handle alone. An experienced probate attorney can ensure that everything done on behalf of beneficiaries adheres to current laws.