When you set up a revocable living trust, you’ll need help from two people: a Pasadena trust attorney at Barilari & Williams to help you set up your trust, and a successor trustee who will oversee and distribute your properties and assets according to the terms of your trust.

The person who sets up the revocable living trust is usually its first trustee. After that person’s death, a new “successor” trustee takes over the management of the trust. Usually, the successor trustee is designated by the person who sets up the trust when the trust is created.

Selecting your successor trustee may be your most important estate planning decision. A successor trustee must deal with taxes, debts, and with distributing the remainder of the trust’s assets. Most of this is done while the decedent’s loved ones are still grieving his or her death.

How Can You Make the Right Choice?

People typically designate a spouse, an adult child, or another family member to function as a successor trustee, but because so many people want to avoid family confrontations, family tensions often emerge only after the person who established the trust has passed away.

Someone related to you may in fact be your best choice to act as your successor trustee. Every situation is different. When you choose your successor trustee, you need to ask these questions, and you need to get the appropriate answers:

  1. Is the individual you are choosing financially independent and responsible?
  2. Does this person adhere to rules?
  3. Is this person compatible and on good terms with your other beneficiaries?
  4. Does this person have the time to manage your trust responsibly?
  5. Will this person hire an accountant or an attorney to help with important professional services?

What Are Some Successor Trustee Alternatives?

If you do not personally know a trusted family member or close friend who is qualified to serve as your successor trustee, you have some alternatives, including:

  1. You can designate a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary (LPF) as your successor trustee.
  2. You can designate an Institutional Trustee such as a bank or another financial institution as your successor trustee.
  3. You can designate one or more successor co-trustees to jointly manage and oversee your revocable living trust.

California’s Department of Consumer Affairs licenses and regulates this state’s professional fiduciaries. An LFP will charge a fee for his or her services. Institutional Trustees are reliable and generally trustworthy, but some do not handle smaller estates, and Institutional Trustees also charge a fee.

Schedule a Consultation – Today – With a Pasadena Trust Attorney

Sound legal advice is imperative when you are planning for the future. A California trust attorney at Barilari & Williams can prepare a revocable living trust for you and help you thoughtfully consider your options when you designate your successor trustee.

We have more than ten years of combined experience serving our Southern California clients with sound estate planning advice and reliable legal services.

There is no cost for your first consultation with a Pasadena trust attorney. To learn more about revocable living trusts and successor trustees, or to establish or review your revocable living trust, contact the Pasadena or Long Beach law offices of Barilari & Williams at 888-EST-PLAN.