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PrairieGal

Appointment of Successor Trustee

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I am the original and sole trustee of my late mother's irrevocable trust. A clause in the trust agreement gives me the power to appoint other trustees, co-trustees, or successor trustees:

"An individual or individuals, or a corporation licensed to conduct trust business in <state>, or any combination of the same, may be appointed as a Trustee, co-Trustee, or successor Trustee of the trust fund by an instrument created by my daughter, <my name>."

As the original trustee, I wish to appoint an individual as successor trustee, to assume the duties of trustee in the event of my death or inability to serve in that capacity. What "instrument/s" or forms do I need to use for this purpose? Is a specific form necessary for my appointee to accept his/her appointment?

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There's no national form on this, no. :) It doesn't have to be in cutesy legalese, though naturally you'd want it to refer to the trust document(s) (any amendments?) in question. And you'd want your signature notarized. While this document wouldn't be required to be an amendment to the trust agreement itself, I'd also wonder whther the trust agreement gives you the power to modify the trust's terms/make amendments to it otherwise. Which may be something you want to consider.

Is there a particular reason you are looking at this as a DIY project and don't want to consult a local trust attorney about it though?

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Thanks for the quick response! And yes, I have contacted a trust attorney, who quoted rates of $385/hour and hinted that it might take many hours of his/her time, his/her partner's time, and a paralegal's time to do what seems to me to be a relatively straightforward process....without being willing to quote even a very approximate total cost that I might incur. So -- especially in light of the fact that the odds of a successor appointee actually needing to assume the role are quite low -- I think that I can do a credible job of putting together a fairly tight document and getting it filed with the court. Sometimes we have to ration our resources and save attorney's fees for the bigger stuff. :-)

So I will put together a notarized Appointment of Successor Trustee or Execution of Power of Appointment form and a separate form constituting the signed/notarized acceptance of assignment by the successor trustee....will reference the trust agreement and the relevant sections thereof....get them all filed...and hope I've been wise in my decision.

thanks again - nice service!

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Uhm, contact a different attorney (assuming all you did was ask him-her to draw up a document appointing a successor (and addressing whether or not you wanted to give the person the power to appoint a successor, or whether you wanted to nominate an alternate party or two in case the first folks couldn't or had kicked the bucket by the time their turn came). It shouldn't take someone more than an hour or two to address all concerns and draw up a document nominating someone to act as trustee.

In any event, it's the trust's money to spend, and you will want to make sure you have someone at whom you can point the finger (or someone else can point the finger) if it's messed up, whereas if you do it yourself, they-you have only you to blame/hold accountable. If the only difference is a few hundred (or even a few thousand), that's better, in my estimation.

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