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If You Are the Successor Trustee

You are appointed the trustee for your parent’s estate, they have both passed way, now what?

This is a common situation. The whole idea of having a trust is that it already owns the property, it already owns bank accounts, and sometimes is the beneficiary of life insurance policies. The ownership doesn’t change upon death.

So when your parents pass away, they have now appointed you to be the successor trustee. You are the next in line to manage the property. You are the next in line to run that business. You have all of the authority, as the successor trustee, to handle business as they had when they were alive. It is almost as if it were your property anyway.

If you want to sell a property, and if the trust says you are supposed to sell the residence, then you can hire a realtor. You can show the title company the documents that prove that you are the trustee. Then it goes through the process and you sign at the end, just as you would if you were selling that house on your own. It just happens to say ‘trustee of the trust’ instead of your personal name.

That is just one example on how that works. The trust is such a great vehicle. It helps people transfer their assets to the next generation seamlessly. You don’t have to hire a lawyer. You don’t have to go to court.

In our Living Trust book, we have the instructions for the successor trustee. We tell you step by step what you need to do. Now, each case is different because it depends on where you do your banking and who the stock broker is.

Hopefully, you already know that you are going to be the successor trustee.  You have all the information right there in the Living Trust book. You’ll know exactly what assets they had and what you need to be doing.

A lawyer can help you too. We help people in that situation. We feel like that is part of our service. We don’t even charge for the minimal amount of guidance. We feel like that is appropriate. That is not something to be afraid of. It is really pretty simple and it is much better than having to go through probate, which happens if you don’t have a trust in place.

So that is why I recommend a Living Trust. We still think trusts are the best way to go and they are really simple to deal with and not as intimidating as you may think.

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