If you intend to use a trust for estate planning reasons in California, you must carefully choose who you’ll appoint as trustee. Failing to take proper care in doing this could mean that your trustee decides to resign. Some people appointed as trustee don’t realize all the work that goes into it or the level of fiduciary duty they’ll hold.

When creating a trust, you should work with an estate planning attorney to name not just the trustee but a successor trustee. Successor trustees are appointed according to the rules and terms in the trust instrument. You may be eligible, for example, to specify who you wish to take over as successor trustee, if you are the trustee and become incapacitated or pass away. This works for revocable living trusts, and this allows you to name another successor.

Trustee resignation refers to the steps that a trustee can take if they no longer wish to administer a trust. Under California Probate Code 15640 a trustee is only eligible to resign using very specific methods. This means that in most cases, simply offering up a written resignation letter is not enough. Working directly with a trust attorney can help someone to verify that their resignation is effective.

The trustee should review any procedures outlined in the trust instrument, obtain the consent of any person who can revoke the trust, if revocable, get the consent of all adult beneficiaries if the trust is irrevocable, or even pursue getting a court order. Most trust instruments have clear instructions about what a trustee must do before they can resign. Usually, written notice is given to the trust beneficiaries and or any successor trustees or co-trustees.

Talk to our Pasadena estate planning lawyers now for more information about when and how to create a trust to accomplish your estate goals.

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