A successor trustee is a person who steps in to control the management of a revocable living trust in two different circumstances. The first of these is when the grantor has become incapacitated and is no longer able to manage the trust on their own. The second circumstance involves the death of the individual who formed the trust and was serving as a trustee.
When the original trustee has passed away, it falls to the successor trustee to distribute the assets to the trust beneficiaries and close it out. If the grantor of the trust, however, is incapacitated, this can be an ongoing open-ended job that ends up requiring a lot of the successor trustee. Remember that when naming a successor trustee this person is eligible to be paid for the services they provide on behalf of the trust.
One way to do this is to address fees directly in the trust agreement. Some grantors will choose to limit fees to a specific dollar amount while others will name the payment to be in the form of reasonable fees. You will also want to evaluate applicable state law if your revocable living trust document is silent on the matter of fees. State law will also dictate the fees that could be paid to each successor trustee if multiple people have been named in this role.
Make sure you also research if you have named an institutional fiduciary since they may be entitled to receive compensation per the published fee schedule. Schedule a time to speak with an estate planning attorney in Pasadena to have a clear understanding of what happens when a successor trustee takes over.