Developing a Plan to Protect Individuals, Families, and Businesses.


Successor Trustee?

Choosing Your Successor Trustee: Is Family Always the Best Choice?
While setting up your living trust, one of the choices you have to make is who will serve as your successor trustee.  Your successor trustee will be the person who will manage your trust property according to the terms of the trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries.  The beneficiaries can be you, in the event you are incapacitated, or your children or other individuals, in the event of your death.  Thus, your successor should be someone that you trust, that is financially sound, responsible, and fair.  These qualities are especially important when you have minor children, for whom you may have special distribution structures. 

The initial reaction is to put your family member as your successor trustee.  Family is usually the best option, since ideally your family member knows you the most and will innately have your best interests in mind.  However, one must consider whether the chosen family member has the qualities that it takes to manage the trust property and to manage the expectations of the beneficiaries.  If it is someone that the beneficiaries do not respect, then the job may be difficult for the successor trustee.  If none of your family members possess the qualities listed above, then you may want to consider alternatives such as good friends, a private fiduciary, or even a corporate trustee. 

Other factors to consider are the age of your beneficiaries and the ultimate distribution plan.  These factors will also have an impact as to who should serve as your successor trustee. 


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