As Successor Trustee of a loved one’s Revocable Living Trust, you’ll step in and take charge of administering the trust when your loved one passes away. Like being named Executor of an estate, being named Successor Trustee is a great honor and quite a responsibility. The first thing to know is that you don’t necessarily have to spring into action immediately, the moment your loved one passes away. You’re human, and there’s time for you to grieve the loss you’ve just experienced. Sometime within the first few weeks, though, you’ll need to turn your attention to your responsibilities as trustee, and your first step should be to meet with an estate planning attorney. He or she will be a valuable advisor as you fulfill your duties in administering the trust. Here are some things you can expect:
- You’ll need to find the Trust Instrument. Often called the Trust Agreement, this is the document that created the trust, and it lays down the ground rules, giving you instructions for how to do your job.
- You’ll need to identify and secure the trust property. This property will ultimately be distributed to the beneficiaries of the trust, but until that time, it’s your job to take care of the property.
- You’ll need to identify and notify the trust beneficiaries.
- A bank account will need to be established and maintained for the trust, and you’ll need to get a federal tax identification number for the trust.
- If there are any ongoing bills to be paid, you’ll be in charge of paying them, as well as managing any investments.
- You’ll be in charge of keeping all the records for the trust, and the beneficiaries will be entitled to access these records.
- If the decedent had any probate property, you’ll need to stay in communication with the personal representative of his or her estate.
- You’ll be in charge of paying any applicable debts and taxes.
- Once all debts are cleared and it’s time to distribute the trust property to the beneficiaries, you’ll do so according to the instructions contained in the Trust Instrument.