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How to Choose a Successor Trustee

A successor trustee is a person who assumes control of your trust after you die and ensures your property is distributed to the designated beneficiaries. Selecting the right trustee is crucial because it can affect how efficient your trust is in the future. If you choose the wrong person, all your wishes might not be carried out as you had originally planned.

Here are some of the characteristics to look for in a successor trustee.


Handling a trust can take several years, so it’s important to select a trustee who is fully committed. Being in charge of a trust is an enormous responsibility that can take up a lot of a person’s time. It’s wise to lay out all the responsibilities with the potential trustee to ensure he or she is up for the task.

Good Communication Skills

It’s important for a successor trustee to maintain constant communication with beneficiaries. He or she should provide them with periodic updates with the status of the trust and how long it will be before they receive their assets. If the trustee takes too long to get back to the beneficiaries or doesn’t get along with them, he or she might not do a good job. 


A successor trustee is often responsible for several financial accounts and properties. He or she will have to identify and protect property and pay bills. If the successor isn’t very organized, he or she may get things mixed up. To ensure that everything flows smoothly, select a trustee who will maintain organized records.


A successor trustee deals with high amounts of money and property. He or she will ultimately be distributing these assets to the beneficiaries. That’s why it’s crucial to select a trustee with integrity.


A successor trustee must act in the best interest of the trust and beneficiaries and leave emotions out of it. He or she should act impartial, even if there are disputes between beneficiaries. For example, if two beneficiaries have a disagreement on who should get what assets, the trustee shouldn’t show favoritism to one over the other.

Detail Oriented

A trust specifies all of your wishes and desires. The trustee will need to read it closely to ensure that all of your wishes are carried out. Therefore, it’s important to select a trustee who pays careful attention to details.

If you follow these tips, you can choose the right successor trustee. If you have further questions about your trust, you should consult with an experienced wills and trusts lawyer, like a wills and trusts lawyer in Sacramento, CA.
Thanks to Yee Law Group, PC for their insight into how to choose a successor trustee.

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