When creating an estate plan, your attorney tries to anticipate a variety of scenarios that can arise during the trust administration. Although the death of a successor trustee may not be expected, it should be planned for anyway. Many trust documents provide for several successor trustees and oftentimes they are ranked by order of succession preference.If an acting trustee dies, the next successor trustee should assume their role. If there are no successor trustees nominated or they are unable or unwilling to act, the court must take immediate action to ensure that somebody is appointed. Below are common outcomes for who may serve as a successor trustee when the acting trustee dies or is unable to act:

  • If there is a co-trustee, he/she may continue to serve alone or with a new co-trustee (depending on the trust terms)
  • The next successor trustee named in the trust
  • A beneficiary, currently serving trustee, or other party with a financial interest in the trust may petition the court to have a trustee appointed
  • If there are no family members or other relatives willing to serve in the place of the death trustee, the court may appoint a professional fiduciary to serve as the trustee

We can help with all trust related matters, and are ready to walk with you every step of the way. We remain available to walk you through this uncertain time and to assist you in making good decisions.  To schedule an appointment, call us at (714) 963-7543.