What If Your Trustee Dies?

Trustee DiesWhat if your trustee dies?  Between you and me, I would much rather be in the position of worrying about a trustee dying versus your death.  Thus, perhaps working through the situation where the trustee dies is not as bad as it might first appear.

If a trustee died and you need help, please contact this law office.

If a trustee dies, who is the trustee?

The first issue is determining who is the active trustee.  A trustee is similar to a personal representative discussed in previous postings.

Generally, a person who is still alive and owner of a revocable trust is their own trustee.  In this situation, if a trustee dies, it is typically worrisome only if the trustee was your primary backup trustee.

On the other hand, if the primary trustee dies, a properly drafted trust document will contain a list of backup trustees.

Who can serve as a backup trustee?

The backup trustee will typically be identified in the trust document.Trustee Died

A backup trustee can be:

  • Spouse
  • A child 18 years of age or older
  • A family member,
  • Friend
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Attorney
  • Investment Advisor
  • Private Trust Company
  • Bank with trust powers
  • Or, a combination of the persons identified above.

What if your backup trustee dies?

If the backup trustee dies, then hopefully the trust document provides a list of successor trustees.  This means the trust document outlines a backup to the backup.

Yes, an option for people to assure security in their trustee selection is to attach conditions or resources to the assigned person.  For example, making it a requirement or duty that your trustee seek affirmation from a CPA or investment adviser.

Another option is granting or assigning your bank or a trust company to manage your trust on your behalf.Backup Trustee

If my trustee dies, how many backups can you have?

In Minnesota and to protect against a situation where a trustee dies, Clients at this law office are encouraged to identify as strong list of backup trustees.

For Clients who do not have any living family members or do not like or trust their family members, one can choose a third party for support.  For example, it is very common for people to seek and identify a trustee like their CPA or a private company.

On the other hand, if your trust document does not identify a backup or everybody on your list is no longer living, your beneficiaries are stuck seeking a Court for help.

Help when a trustee dies

If you need help amending a revocable trust to account for the death of a trustee or any related estate planning document, please contact this law office for help.