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What does a successor trustee do?

If you have a revocable trust, there is a good chance that you’ll name yourself as the trustee. However, it is in your best interest to name a successor trustee. This person will manage the document if you pass away or are otherwise unable to manage trust assets such as a California home or business.

Who can serve as a successor trustee?

If you want, you can hire a professional to serve as a successor trustee. This may be ideal if you don’t have any friends or family members who you trust to manage your affairs. It’s worth noting that a judge may appoint a successor trustee if you fail to name one yourself and are unable to manage your affairs.

What will this person do on your behalf?

As a general rule, a successor trustee will distribute or manage assets according to the trust’s language. They may also be given the authority to make judgment calls if the trust is unclear about who should get a distribution, when a distribution should be made or how much it should be. Of course, making this document as clear as possible may avoid trust litigation before or after your death. Talking with your successor trustee may make it easier for them to act in accordance with your wishes and in accordance with state law.

Creating a trust may be an effective way to retain control of assets while holding them outside of your estate. Keeping property in a trust can avoid probate, which may make it easier to transfer or sell them in a timely manner after you pass away.