While designing your estate plan, you will need to select successor trustees of your revocable living trust. Successor trustees step in and act during any period of incapacity and after your death. By choosing successor trustees yourself and outlining instructions in your revocable living trust, you maintain control and your wishes will be followed. All of this means that your estate plan works.
- Choose trustees who care about you and are willing to dedicate the time necessary to the task, want to serve, and are financially savvy, willing to ask for professional help, and good record keepers.
- Always ask permission before naming someone. You may think that a loved one is ideal for the role, but he may be feeling completely overwhelmed with his own responsibilities at the time.
- Always name contingent trustees to serve if your primary trustee is unable or unwilling to serve. This prevents a gap in authority as well as preventing the court’s interference in your finances and family.
- Don’t feel obligated to choose a spouse or a child if it’s not a good fit. However, if you don’t, definitely talk over your decision with your family so questions can be answered and much anger and resentment can be averted.
- Don’t name all three of your children at once. Legally, you certainly can name all three kids, but, in practicality, it is cumbersome to carry out the duties of trustee with three trustees.
- There are professional trustees available if none of your loved ones are a good fit. Banks, trust companies, and CPAs commonly serve as professional trustees. Consider giving your beneficiaries the power to fire a trustee and hire another one because corporate fiduciaries (i.e. banks and trust companies) can be challenging to work with.
If you need additional guidance regarding the selection of successor trustees for your revocable living trust, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.