My Trustee is Dead and Minnesota’s Confusing Trustee Laws

Trustee is Dead
Trustee is Dead

So, your Trustee is dead?  First, I sympathize with you and your family.  Second, lets assume the trust was valid.

Generally, these are the next couple of steps:

Trustee is Dead:  Do this while Alive

If at all possible, I believe every trustee should have a backup plan.  In other words, have a conversation with the back-up trustee or successor trustee.

During this conversation, make sure they are willing and able to step into the role when called upon.  If at all possible, keep accurate notes to help the back-up trustee step into your shoes.

Trustee is Dead and I am the Backup

For those stepping up because the trustee before them has since died, I think engaging professional advisement is always prudent.  After all, being a trustee is a lot of work.  And, having advisors like a financial planner, accountant and attorney can reduce problems.

Trustee is Dead and I do Not Know What to Do

Not knowing how to proceed is a common fear.  In my experience, the most surprising part is how much time the position of trustee can require.  Whether this means running mom to the doctor, paying her bills, keeping the house up or making sure her taxes are filed, it is an administrative task like none other.

On the other hand, it is a lot easier than running to and from a probate court.  For this reason, a trustee that is no longer able to render services is a good problem to have.

Am I Liable when my Trustee is Dead

Here is the number one reason to jump on the transition process for a trustee:  liability.  Yes, trustees can become liable for errors and tardiness.

Thus, the transition process should be engaged immediately.