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What’s the role of a successor trustee in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2022 | Blog, Estate Administration

Setting up a revocable living trust in New Jersey involves multiple steps. One of those steps is setting up a successor trustee.

A successor trustee is a person who will handle the trust after you’ve passed. The successor trustee will also take over the trust should you become incapacitated, such as after an accident or with age.

Who should serve as successor?

The person you choose to serve as a successor will usually be someone you trust beyond a shadow of a doubt. They’ll manage your trust – and all of the assets in it – after you pass. Some of their responsibilities will include:

  • Coordinating with the executor of your estate plan
  • Paying off debts
  • Tax responsibilities
  • Investing and managing the trusts until they can be distributed to beneficiaries

The successor is also responsible for selling off your trust, depending on your last wishes and what debts you have to settle. With all of this responsibility, it’s essential to talk to the person you want to make the successor of your trust.

What are the responsibilities of the successor while you’re alive?

Generally, the successor trustee doesn’t do anything until after you’ve passed or are otherwise incapacitated. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be involved in the process in some way.

You should talk to your successor trustee about the responsibility that goes into being a successor as well as what they should expect will happen after. The successor will sign a trust agreement, saying they’ll follow the terms you set forth.

How do I know if a revocable trust is right for me?

Setting up a revocable trust can seem like a lot of work, but it’s often worth it for the peace of mind that comes with it. Think about your options for estate planning and who will handle the trust after you’ve passed before you make a decision.