How Do I Choose a Successor Trustee in Maryland?

estate planning

If you’ve established a revocable trust, you must name a Successor Trustee to manage your affairs should you pass away or become incapacitated. Similar to a will, a revocable trust is an estate planning tool that allows the person who created the trust (also known as the grantor) to leave instructions for the distribution of their assets after their death. A Successor Trustee accepts a significant amount of responsibility. Therefore, you must ensure you choose the right person. Please continue reading to learn what you should look for in a successor and how a determined Montgomery County Trust Attorney can help you today. 

What is a Successor Trustee?

A Successor Trustee is a person who is left responsible for administering a trust after its grantor either passes away or becomes incapacitated, leaving them unable to administer the trust for themselves. Essentially, they will take over the grantor’s role. A Successor Trustee will step in and take control of your finances and make important decisions on your behalf. They will be authorized to do anything you could do with your assets in the trust as long as it doesn’t conflict with your instructions or breach their fiduciary duty.

After your death, they will assume a similar role as an executor. This means they’ll be responsible for taking inventory of your assets, paying any outstanding debts, selling or refinancing your assets if necessary, preparing your tax returns, and distributing your assets according to your wishes. It’s crucial to understand that a Successor Trustee will be permitted to act privately. This means they don’t have to be supervised by the court. These individuals need to know what they are doing. As you can see, Successor Trustees are afforded significant responsibilities. Therefore, they must be chosen carefully.

How Should I Choose a Successor in Maryland?

When you’re deciding who should be your successor, there are numerous things you should take into consideration. Many people hastily jump to a beloved friend or family member. However, while this can be a good option for some, others should think carefully about whether these individuals possess the necessary skills to fulfill the duties of this role. As mentioned above, a Successor Trustee will take on significant responsibilities. Therefore, you should choose someone you wholly trust and whose judgment you respect. But most importantly, you must appoint someone you know will respect your wishes.

Taking over a trust as a trustee can take a substantial amount of time. This can make it difficult for those with their own family or career demands to fulfill the required duties. That said, it’s beneficial to ask the individual you are considering if they would be comfortable assuming this responsibility should the time come.

At JD Katz, our team is prepared to help you draft a well-versed document with clear-cut instructions that guarantee your successor understands their duties and responsibilities. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your future.