Why should you appoint a Successor Trustee?: Requirements of Appointing a Successor Trustee in Los Angeles

In this article, you will learn some of the circumstances when appointing a Successor Trustee in Los Angeles can become necessary to protect the trust estate, the how to or the methods of appointment, and the requirements of appointing a Successor Trustee.

First, What is a successor trustee? A Successor Trustee is usually the person who is appointed as the trustee after the settlor’s incapacity, resignation or death. However, there are other times when the reference is just to the next named trustee or the next appointed trustee.

Why should you appoint a Successor Trustee in Los Angeles California?

People often ask us the give them the reasons why they can appoint a successor trustee. A vacancy in the office of the trustee is just one of the many circumstances when a successor trustee may be needed, but read the list below. Remember that facts determine the need for the appointment of a successor trustee and methods determine how or the procedure for the appointment of a successor trustee. You must always analyze whether you have sufficient reasons for a successor trustee to be appointed because of the expense involved.

1. The Trustee has died and you need to appoint another trustee;

2. The Trustee has become incapacitated;

3. The Trustee has resigned;

4.   There is some cause stated in the trust document which allows for the appointment of a successor trustee.

5. There is good cause to remove, replace, and appoint a successor trustee. 

6. Sometimes the reason to change trustees is that there is no one alive, capable or available who was named in the trust to act as a trustee.

7. There are also times when someone who is named in the trust has become unsuitable to act as a trustee or successor trustee for reasons such as incapacity, conflict of interest, negligence, or theft.   It could also be that the trustee has become elderly, or just does not wish to act and declines to act as a trustee.   He or she would normally render a declination to the beneficiaries so they know to go and appoint someone else they trust.

8. Where a trustee has started to act but wants to resign, the standard of care requires an accounting to be done.

Now that you have learned what causes the appointment of a successor trustee, let us learn about the conditions for the appointment of a successor trustee.

Requirements of Appointing a Successor Trustee

  1. Check the reasons for the appointment of a successor trustee set below.
  2. Check the language of the trust.
  3. If no language in the trust, then check the Probate Code.

Before you consider the appointment of a Successor Trustee, check to see who the prior trustee was, and who is named as the next successor trustee. See if any trustee has resigned, died or is incapacitated. If a trustee is incapacitated, make sure the methods of determining the incapacity of the former trustee are complied with, so that the next trustee can be appointed. Yes, it is complicated. Some of the main prerequisites for appointing any successor trustee are that they are trustworthy and accountable.

Reasons for appointing a successor trustee:

  1. Death.
  2. Incapacity.
  3. Vacancy in the office of the trustee.
  4. An unsuitable person as successor in combination with a petition for removal or suspension.
  5. Suspension of a trustee.
  6. Removal of the trustee with no alternate named.
  7. Conflict of interest by the current trustee.

What are the methods or procedures for appointing a successor trustee in California?

How do you get a successor trustee appointed? First, we look to the trust document for a method of selecting the successor trustee when there is a vacancy in the office of the trustee or successor trustee. Below is a list of how a successor trustee may be appointed. Clients frequently ask us: How do you appoint a successor trustee? See our answer below.

Procedurally, there are two methods to appoint or get a successor trustee:

1) Non-court appointment of a Successor Trustee:

  • Settlor Trustee is alive and can appoint a new person.  
  • All beneficiaries of the trust consent the appointment of a successor trustee.
  • Settlor Trustee has provided a method in the trust document to appoint a successor trustee.

2) Court appointment of a Successor Trustee:

  •     A Petition is filed under PC 17200 to appoint a successor trustee.
  •     All trustees and beneficiaries sign a consent.
  •     At least one beneficiary or trustee signs a nomination of a new trustee.
  •     Always look to the trust to see if a successor is named.
  •     Watch out for the no-contest clause effects.
    • The Court will require a bond if the successor trustee was not named in the trust instrument so this is a condition for the court to authorize another person to come in as a trustee.

Where can Successor Trustees get help in Los Angeles? At Sirkin Law Group, Successor Trustees can get advice and help with not only administration of the trust, but with representation in trust litigation and trust disputes. Obtain a Successor Trustee consultation here and learn about obtaining a successor trustee.

Call Successor Trustee Lawyer for assistance in safeguarding the trust estate.

Mina Sirkin, Los Angeles Trust Attorney:   818.340.4479     [email protected]

Evan Sirkin, Los Angeles Trust Lawyer: 818.340.4479 [email protected]

Los Angeles County area Trust Office Locations which can help with appointing a successor trustee in Los Angeles.

Need Help or Advice From a Los Angeles Attorney Who Help With Getting or Obtaining a New Trustee?

Since 1993, our California Trust Attorneys have assisted clients in the appointment of a  Successor Trustee when the former trustee is incapacitated, fails to resign or dies without a replacement named in the trust in Los Angeles.  Call California Probate Lawyer at 818.340.4479.   Our law office handles Los Angeles County, Orange and Ventura County trusts.  

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