PART 5 – It is legal and in some situations may be desirable to name more than one person as your successor trustee.
For example, you might name two or more of your children if you think one of them might feel hurt and left out if not named. (This could work well if you don’t expect any disagreements between them.)
Having more than one successor trustee is especially likely to cause serious problems if the successor trustees are in charge of the property you have left to a young beneficiary in a child’s sub-trust. The trustees may potentially have to manage a young beneficiary’s property for many years and will have many decisions to make about how to spend the money, all which greatly increases the potential for conflict.
If you appoint co successor trustees, you will have to designate their authority to act — that is, whether each one can act independently or whether they must all agree before they can act. Obviously, it’s easy to let each act without waiting for formal, written consent from the others. You may, however, prefer to have them all formally agree before taking action on behalf of the trust. If you name more than one successor trustee and one of them can’t serve, the others will serve. If none of them can serve, the alternate you name will take over.
Obviously, before you finalize your living trust, you must check with the person or institution you’ve chosen to be your successor trustee. You want to be sure your recommended choice is willing to serve. The person you’ve chosen may not want to serve, for a variety of reasons. And even if the person would be willing, if he or she doesn’t know about his or her responsibilities, the transfer of trust property after your death could be delayed.
With all of this in mind, it is a good idea to review your choice of successor trustee every couple of years with your estate-planning attorney.
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