When a decedent dies leaving assets in trust, a successor trustee steps in to take over management of the trust. Sometimes, as in the case of certain irrevocable trusts, a separate trustee may already be in place.

Much like estate administration, the successor trustee gathers and consolidates trust assets, pays the valid trust expenses and manages the trust according to the trust’s terms. Unlike estate administration, the trustee is not supervised by the court and trust terms, assets, liabilities and distributions remain private. The successor trustee has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the trust and must act in the best interests of all of the beneficiaries.

Photo of a family standing on a dock at sunset

If the trust holds many assets, or involves complicated estate tax prevention mechanisms, it is essential for the trustee to obtain trusted legal counsel to guide him or her through the management of the trust. However, becoming the successor trustee of a trust, especially a trust that you may not have had any involvement with prior to the original trustee’s passing, can be overwhelming.

Our attorneys often represent both original and successor trustees in the performance of trust duties, including consolidating assets, restructuring the trust to take advantage of estate tax savings, representing the trust in a sale of real estate, working with financial advisors in the investment and management of trust assets, and the distribution of trust funds.

Your better legacy depends upon the accuracy and completeness of your estate plan

Contact us today to talk to a Florida Bar board certified specialist who has the expertise to help you plan your estate.