If you’re like most people, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how your estate will be distributed after you die. After all, that’s what a will is for as well as the beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement accounts. However, if you become incapacitated or unable to manage your financial affairs due to illness or injury before your death, someone has to step in. That person is called the successor trustee. And while it may not be fair that this person has to shoulder such an important responsibility during a difficult time (or at any other time), it’s important for them to know what they’re getting into before taking on the job of managing someone else’s money and belongings for years or even decades afterwards.
Set up a trust.
A trust is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. If you have significant wealth, it’s important to set up a trust because it can help protect that wealth from future taxes and creditors while providing beneficiaries with more flexibility in managing the funds. You could create an irrevocable trust to benefit family members or friends, or an inter vivos trust (living during lifetime) for yourself and other heirs who may need access to the money during their lifetime. The latter allows for changes if circumstances change such as becoming disabled or having medical expenses that make it difficult for them to earn income on their own.
You might also consider setting up a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT). This is a tax-saving strategy where donors give away appreciated property through an irrevocable CRUT agreement with their financial adviser while retaining an interest in some or all of the income generated by the property until they pass away—at which point everything passes on as planned!
Leave your successor a record of the assets and debts you want to transfer.
The first step to creating a successful successor trustee is to make a list of the assets and debts you want to transfer to your successor. In order for your successor to manage your trust smoothly, it’s important that they have easy access to this list.
Once you’ve made a list of all the assets and debts in your trust, leave it with your successor trustee. This way, when something new comes up during their time as trustee, they’ll know exactly what needs done next. You should also update this list as needed so that any changes are reflected accurately—this helps make sure everything runs smoothly after your death or incapacitation (if applicable).
Let your successor trustee know how you want her or him to handle certain situations that may come up.
To ensure that your successor trustee is prepared for any situation, it’s important to let her or him know in advance what you want done. This can be achieved through a will provision that allows you to specify what should happen when certain types of problems arise.
If you’re worried about a potential dispute over the will it self—for example, if your spouse thinks that he or she was unfairly left out of the document and wants his or her own attorney to contest it—you can instruct your successor trustee on how to proceed in this scenario by including instructions for handling contested wills in your will. You can also instruct them on how they should proceed if there is no will at all (or if a missing or destroyed document must be replaced) by including language along those lines in your estate plan. And while many people worry about their property being stolen when they pass away, others may have old documents saved on floppy disks or locked away in safe deposit boxes where they aren’t able access them anymore–in either case, specifying how such cases should be handled going forward might help ease some of their concerns as well!
Work with your successor trustee to set up joint accounts and designate beneficiaries.
If you want to make it easy for your successor trustee to help manage your affairs after death, then consider establishing joint accounts. Your successor trustee can simply use their own name as the account holder, which means that they have access to all the funds and assets in an account without having to go through a formal probate process. This can save time and money for both parties involved.
Think about what happens after your successor trustee steps down.
Now that you’ve found a successor trustee, it’s important to think about what happens if your successor trustee dies or is incapacitated. You also want to consider what will happen if your successor trustee resigns, gets divorced, or is no longer able to serve.