Stepping up as a successor trustee

Many people in Nevada find that trusts are very helpful to their estate planning process. The additional privacy, flexibility and control provided by these options mean that they can be valuable tools in distributing assets after a person passes away. Still, people who are named as successor trustees in a trust may be unfamiliar about what to do when the trust’s creator dies because many people are less familiar with trusts than, for example, the role of the executor of a will. In many cases, people create trusts during their lifetime, during which they retain full control over the property in the trust.

The trust documents will typically name a successor trustee who takes over responsibility for the trust when the creator dies or becomes incapacitated. In most cases, the documents will also state what the named successor trustee needs to do. They may need to provide a death certificate or a doctor letter certifying that the trust creator has been incapacitated. Next, the named successor needs to make some sort of affidavit or certificate affirming their role as successor trustee and committing to carry out their duties under state law and the terms of the trust.

After those initial matters are taken care of, the successor trustee can begin managing the trust itself. In some cases, this may include selling off real estate or distributing assets to named beneficiaries of the trust. When successor trustees sell real estate, they will generally want to include trust information and their affidavit along with the deed in order to ensure that full and clear title passes to the buyer.

Trust administration can be a new process for many who are named as successor trustees. People who have come into this role may consult with an estate planning or probate attorney to discuss their next steps.

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