Those who are considering creating a revocable living trust can turn to a trust lawyer St. Peters, Missouri trusts for guidance who understands it can be an emotional task to think about how you want your legacy distributed to loved ones after your passing. When writing your living trust, one of the big decisions you will have to make it appointing a successor trustee. Of course, you are to list yourself as the trustee, and then have a backup person assigned to take care of your assets after you have passed on. You may be wondering who to pick for such a vital role.
Here in this article, we have explored the role of a successor trustee, and how to go about deciding which loved one may be right for the job.
The Role of a Successor Trustee
In the event you become incapacitated or pass on, the successor trustee can step in to take control of paying your bills, handling financial decisions and even selling your assets. This person can act on your behalf and do as they think is best, with limitations. Your successor must not act against the wishes described in your trust, nor breach fiduciary duty. When you pass away, your successor trustee is responsible for the same kind of duties as an executor of a will, in that he or she may have to perform the following:
- Paying off any remaining bills or outstanding debts
- Selling property, valuables or other assets if needed
- Prepares final tax returns
- Distributes assets to beneficiaries as described in trust
Privacy of a Trust
The benefit of having a trust is that your successor trustee can act without the courts intervening. Those who have established a trust can have their affairs be handled in a more private and streamlined way. The privacy of a trust is actually why most people opt for it in the first place.
Who Can Be a Successor
The person you choose to be your trust successor does not have to be knowledgeable in the world of legalities. There are advisors and attorneys who can be of assistance as the successor handles your assets. However, this person should in general be conscientious and reliable. You can appoint adult children, a best friend, close relative, corporate trustee or anyone else you feel is most suited for the role. If you decide to appoint a single person, you may want to add another name as backup just in case the first is not able to fulfill their duties. These should be people you know well, who you trust entirely, and has only your best interest at heart.
Thank you to our friends and contributors from Legacy Law Center for their insight into estate planning and choosing a trustee.