If you establish a revocable living trust, you typically appoint yourself as the trustee while you’re still alive. This enables you to make important decisions and take actions in relation to the trust, meaning that you still have control over the assets inside. However, if something happens to you, another party will need to be appointed to manage the assets inside.
You will rely on this person to distribute those assets according to the terms of the trust. This person is known as your successor trustee. This is different from a personal representative or executor, who is the person appointed to administer your estate. These individuals have similar roles after you pass away but there is one important difference – a personal representative is responsible for going through the probate court process, but a successor trustee is able to distribute your assets to your loved ones in a private setting much faster after you have passed away because it avoids probate. The successor trustee can:
- Administer your assets and property.
- Arrange for final debt repayment.
- File forms as necessary.
- Distribute assets to your loved ones according to your wishes.
- Ensure that any donations are given to the right people.
All of these responsibilities are very important and require you to think carefully about who should be installed as your successor trustee. If you have further questions about creating this document, contact an experienced and dedicated estate planning lawyer to get started.
Think about who you choose to serve in the role of successor trustee.
Our Pasadena estate planning attorneys can support you each step of the way in the process.