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Trust administration: Choosing a trustee

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2017 | Trusts

After a person dies, there are usually many tasks for those left behind to be completed. It is important to select a person that can handle the technical and time-consuming responsibilities of handling estates, including trust administration. Individuals often choose a trust instead of the more traditional will to manage their estate, and when a person uses a living trust, a successor trustee must be selected. In California, the successor may be one of several types of entities, including an adult child, family member, friend, bank or professional fiduciary. 

When a married couple creates a living trust, typically they manage it, and when one spouse dies or is unable to take care of their affairs, the second spouse will manage the trust. Once both spouses are deceased, officials will look to whomever has been appointed successor trustee to handle the remaining responsibilities. Many times families choose to name one or all of their children as the successor trustee. Trust administration can be a time-consuming activity, so if the appointed family member has a full-time job, a person may want to think of other options for the successor. 

One can appoint a family friend, but again, the title comes with responsibility, so that person should be compensated financially for the time involved. Professionals also exist to aid in trust management. One can choose to hire a professional fiduciary or a bank to handle their affairs, but each of these options will come with fees for their services. 

Choosing a trustee is not something to take easily. When one finally decides, the person should be asked and given the option to accept or decline the duty. Trust administration can be a burden for those who also may be dealing with grief or personal issues, and so that should be taken into consideration. In California. many people choose to consult with an attorney for more guidance on this issue. 


Source:, “Women on Money and Mindset: Estate planning: choosing a trustee“, Tami Sipos, Sept. 2, 2017


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