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By: Scott Grossman on May 16th, 2023

What is a Successor Trustee?

A Successor Trustee is the trustee who serves after the death, incapacity, or resignation of the first trustee. A Successor Trustee has the same duties and powers as the original trustee. Just like the original or first trustee, the Successor Trustee is the legal representative of the trust. The Successor Trustee has the authority to act on behalf of the trust.

A Successor Trustee is responsible for retitling trust-owned assets in their name as trustee of the trustee. This means if John Smith created the John Smith while he was alive, he probably titled his property as John Smith, Trustee of the John Smith Trust. When John dies, his daughter Sally is nominated as Successor Trustee. Sally must then retitle trust-owned property to hold the title as Sally Smith, Trustee of the John Smith Trust. The trustee has duties to the trust beneficiaries and no one else.

To learn more about Trustee Duties, check out our article, “20 ways your Trustee can be breaching their fiduciary duties.” Find out more about your rights as a beneficiary and how to secure your rightful inheritance. 

What are the duties of a Successor Trustee?

Suppose the Successor Trustee was appointed because the person who created the trust is incapacitated. In that case, the Successor Trustee’s duties run only to the person who made the trust because they are the only beneficiary. If the Successor Trustee was appointed because the person who created the trust died, then the Successor Trustee’s duties run only to the beneficiaries who inherit from the trust. If the Successor Trustee is one of the beneficiaries, they must treat themselves similarly to all the other beneficiaries.

Suppose your trustee is telling you they are doing something with trust property for any reason that isn’t written in the trust, then that’s a sign your trustee is not acting for your benefit. There is a long list of duties the Successor Trustee has to the trust’s beneficiaries. 

The trustee has numerous duties so they can perform their work. This includes the duties to:

  • Collect and hold trust property
  • Add property to the trust
  • Make deposits
  • Manage trust property
  • Make repairs
  • Hold securities
  • Pay trust expenses
  • Hire people

That’s just a sample of the trustee’s powers. The point is the trustee is empowered under California’s Trust Law to carry out the terms of the trust and has a duty to do so.

More on your Trustee duties

If you would still like more information on Trust Litigation and removing a Trustee, check out our complete Overview of California Trust Litigation, available on our website. And if you have more questions about your rights as a Beneficiary and what you should know moving forward. It’s best to reach out as soon as possible. 

Still having some trouble, have any more questions, or want to talk to someone about your case, please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form below. The longer you take, the more damage your trust could take. Please call us at (888) 443-6590, and we would be more than happy to see if we can assist you.