David Howard Goldberg, P.L.

Who handles a trust when a trustmaker dies?

After setting up a revocable trust, the creator is typically the trustee. This may involve funding new assets, removing the titles for assets that no longer exist or handling any investments that are funded to the trust. When the trustee dies, a successor trustee takes over these duties. Those in Florida who are named as successor trustees or who are beneficiaries of a trust may wish to understand the duties of a trustee after the trust creator dies.

Depending on the terms of the trust, the trustee may have a relatively simple task of settling the trust. This means that the creator specified that the assets in the trust should be distributed to the beneficiaries and the trust should be closed. In some cases, such as when the beneficiaries are minors, the trustee will continue to manage the assets for a certain period of time.

One of the common duties for a successor trustee includes locating all the assets funded to the trust, such as insurance policies, property titles and access to financial accounts. The trustee may have to obtain appraisals for some assets, such as real estate. It may be necessary for the successor to work with the estate executive for such duties as paying off creditors and handling tax liabilities. If the trust is to continue, the trustee will be responsible for protecting, managing and growing the assets until the beneficiaries can accept them.

While the work of a successor trustee can be challenging and time-consuming, it is critical that the chosen trustee is committed to the task. When this does not happen, the beneficiaries of the trust may suffer. Those in Florida who question the fitness or competence of a successor trustee may wish to reach out to an attorney for advice.

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