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By: Scott Grossman on August 5th, 2016

Riverside Trust Attorney: Ten Steps to for a Successor Trustee to Take

Following the passing of the grantor and initial trustee of a revocable trust, the trust becomes irrevocable and a successor trustee must take over the trust administration. Often, the successor trustee was a loved one, friend, or trusted advisor of the deceased. However, the successor trustee may be uncertain as to what to do next after receiving notice that he or she is being called upon to act as trustee.

Here are the 10 first steps to take following the passing of the initial trustee of a revocable trust:

  1. Consult with an experienced trust lawyer for assistance.
  2. Decide whether or not to accept the trustee appointment. Even when named in a trust instrument, an individual is not legally bound to accept the appointment. The individual may decline to act as a trustee, in which event the next named trustee may serve. If none of the named trustees are able or willing to act, a petition will be brought before the court to appoint a financial institution or individual to serve.
  3. After accepting the appointment, the trustee should read the declaration of trust and the last will and testament.
  4. Identify the duties that are assigned to the trustee.
  5. Determine what assets are currently held in the trust.
  6. Identify any assets that may be poured into the trust through probate or due to a beneficiary designation.
  7. Provide notice to interested parties and heirs of the deceased in accordance with California law.
  8. Provide notice to the county assessor if real estate is owned by the trust.
  9. Re-register trust assets into the trustee’s name, as trustee of the trust.
  10. Obtain a federal tax identification number for the trust.

While the prospect of becoming the trustee of a trust may seem overwhelming, the guidance of a trust attorney can make the process run far smoother. To learn more, contact The Grossman Law Firm toll-free at (888) 443-6590.