How Many Successor Trustees Can Be on a Living Trust?

By Teo Spengler

A living trust is a legal document that enables you to transfer property at your death without sending it through probate. If you create a living trust, you generally name yourself as the trustee, the person who manages the trust property. You appoint the person or persons to succeed to this position in the document.

How Living Trusts Work

A revocable living trust accomplishes the same end as a will, allowing you to pass your assets to your chosen beneficiaries at your death. But if you opt for a living trust instead of a will, the property placed in the trust avoids probate. You can create a trust by filling in a form called Declaration of Trust, available from your attorney or through reliable online legal service providers. You then fund the trust by transferring title to your property to the name of the trust. If you name yourself both as trustee and beneficiary, you can continue to manage the property and have full use of it during your life. At your death, the trust property passes to successor beneficiaries.

Successor Trustee Responsibilities

In your living trust document, you must name a successor trustee who will take over the management of the trust property when you die or become incapacitated. Selecting a successor trustee is an important decision since the person or persons chosen are charged with managing the assets, paying trust debts and distributing the property according to the trust instructions.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Selecting Successor Trustee

It is important to select a successor trustee or trustees in whom you have confidence, someone you trust to follow your directions and stay organized. The successor trustee should have the wherewithal to know when and how to bring in professional help, if necessary. You can select a family member or friend who is qualified to manage trust property. Alternatively, you can choose a financial institution or pay a professional to step into the role.

Multiple Trustees

You may be tempted to name all of your adult children or your siblings as successor trustees to avoid hard feelings. While there is no legal limit on the number of successor trustees you can name, it is simply impractical to name more than one or two persons. Since trustees must agree on all decisions and sign off on all financial matters, multiple trustees can slow the trust administration to a crawl.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to Prepare a Living Trust at Home



Related articles

How to Write a Last Will & Living Trust

A last will and testament sets out how your property is to be distributed after your death. A living trust, also known as an inter vivos trust, allows you to dispose of your property while you are still alive, as well as after your death. Many people use living trusts to avoid the delays of probate court and to avoid estate taxes.

How to Choose an Administrator for My Living Trust

A living trust is a trust formed and funded during your lifetime, as opposed to a testamentary trust, which is created as part of your will. A living trust is managed by a trustee, or administrator, who is held to strict standards of fiduciary responsibility, which requires that the administrator employ fair dealings toward all beneficiaries and prudent investment of the trust's funds. Choose a skilled, efficient financial administrator to ensure that your intentions for your living trust are fulfilled.

How to Prepare an Amendment to a Revocable Trust

You create a living trust to transfer assets to the control of a trustee, who has the legal authority to manage the assets and distribute them to your named beneficiaries according to your instructions. A revocable trust is one that you may legally amend at any time with the use of a simple amendment.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

Can I Have Both a Living Trust & a Testamentary Trust?

Estate planning is about ensuring that your property goes to your designated beneficiaries as quickly as possible, ...

How to Sign Documents As a Successor Trustee of a Living Trust

A living trust is a common document in estate planning that provides for an orderly transfer of property without having ...

How to Title Assets for a Trust

Transferring property from yourself to your revocable or irrevocable trust is known as funding the trust. Only assets ...

When Does a Testamentary Trust Will Go Through Probate?

When you die, many of your assets will have to go through probate before your estate’s representative can distribute ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED