Successor Trustee Checklist

Successor Trustee Checklist for Revocable Trust After Grantor’s Death

Below, you will find a checklist that will help you navigate being the successor trustee for a revocable trust.

  1. Preliminary Tasks
    • Allow family grieving time and facilitate final arrangements.
    • Order death certificates and gather trust-related documents.
  2. Accept the Trusteeship
    • Engage attorney and CPA experienced in trust administration. 
    • Execute acceptance of trusteeship / certificate or affidavit of incumbency.
    • Obtain EIN for each trust that is now irrevocable.
    • Send notice of irrevocability to beneficiaries.
  3. Take Control of Trust Assets and Liabilities
    • Notify credit bureaus of death.
    • Arrange to forward the grantor’s mail with the U.S. Postal Service.
    • Ascertain assets and liabilities by reviewing grantor’s mail, personal files, personal and business records, and online accounts.  Assume formal control.
    • Contact insurers to continue or acquire adequate property and casualty insurance for real and personal property.
    • As to accounts, policies, and other assets for which the trust is a beneficiary upon death, submit appropriate claims.
    • As to grantor’s assets that are not held in the name of the trust and that are not payable to one or more designated beneficiaries, arrange for a probate of the pour-over Will.
  4. Develop Trust-Administration Plan
    • Work with CPA, attorney, and financial advisors to create a plan of action and a clear division of duties with respect to asset discovery and collection, appraisals, investment management, business management, tax returns (1040, 1041, 709, 706, etc.), ascertaining and satisfying liabilities, property maintenance, expense payments, sale or maintenance of trust assets, record maintenance, and compliance with the directives of the trust instrument.
    • Create a budget for the trust and a timeline for trust decisions and actions.  Analyze cash-flow needs for the payment of ongoing expenses, taxes and other liabilities, and beneficiary distributions.
    • In accordance with the requirements of the trust instrument and statutory law, provide the beneficiaries with a copy of the trust provisions affecting them.  To the extent appropriate, inform them of the initial trust inventory, the anticipated timeline for trust administration and distributions, and the overall process for the trust’s administration.

If you would like to discuss estate planning or would like some guidance as a successor trustee, please reach out to us!

This article is provided for informational purposes only. By viewing blog posts, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and Kierman Law, PLC. The article should not be used as a substitute for legal advice or engagement with a licensed professional attorney. Readers are urged to reach out to us directly regarding specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.