One of the nice things about a revocable living trust is the fact that you can maintain control of the actions of the trust while you are living. As the trust creator, you can also serve as the trustee, and you can act as the beneficiary as well.
This can raise a question: What happens after you pass away? Who would administer the trust then?
As the grantor of the trust, you answer these questions.
When you create the trust, you put together a trust declaration. This document will spell out the terms of the trust. In this declaration, you name a trustee to succeed you after you pass away.
You can technically choose any adult who is willing to assume the role as the successor trustee, and you can actually include multiple trustees if you choose to do so.
Naming someone that you know personally to act as the trustee may seem like the logical choice, but there can be pitfalls. For one, you have to be concerned about the longevity of the person that you choose. Secondly, the trustee could have personal relationships with the beneficiaries, and this can potentially cause difficulties.
You could go in a different direction and utilize a corporate trustee. Trust companies can provide trust administration services, and there are a number of advantages to be gained if you use a professional fiduciary.
Longevity would not be a concern, and the assets in the trust would be professionally managed. Plus, you can include spendthrift protections when you are creating the trust declaration. A corporate trustee will not be easily swayed by a spendthrift’s pleas.
Joint Living Trusts
If you are married, you and your spouse could potentially create a joint living trust. Under these circumstances, you and your spouse would typically act as co-trustees.
After the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse would become the sole trustee.
A trust declaration can vary from this formula, but this would be a very common scenario.
Trust Administration Report
We have provided a bit of basic information about trust administration in this brief blog post, but we have a more comprehensive resource that you can access through this website if you would like to learn more.
Our firm has prepared an in-depth report on the process of trust administration. The report is free, and you can visit this page to access your copy: Free Report on Trust Administration.
Additional Content at Forbes.com
We like to make estate planning and elder law information available through a number of different channels. In addition to the content that you can read here on our website, you can also visit our contributor page on Forbes.com: Forbes Contributor Mark Eghrari.