Trusts & Trustees

Trusts have become a popular estate planning tool. Learn about trusts, and the role of the successor trustee here.

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Trusts used to be just for wealthy families, but not anymore. In the last couple of decades, many thousands of ordinary folks have created trusts, especially simple "living trusts," which function as will substitutes. Their big advantage is that after death, property held in trust can be transferred to inheritors without probate court. That saves family members lots of delay, expense, and hassle.

As people have become aware of the benefits of living trusts, they have become hugely popular. But many people who create them don't give much thought to who will actually handle the transfer of trust property after they die. They may even think that it will all somehow happen "automatically," without any effort from survivors.

Not true. Just as an executor takes over after a death to see that the terms of a will are followed, a "successor trustee" takes over to see that the terms of a trust are carried out. If you've been tapped to serve as a trustee, it's a good idea to find out just what responsibility you'll be taking on. The topics below will fill you in.

Serving as Executor? Nolo Can Help.

Find a local lawyer for advice or handle the estate yourself with nolo's award winning do-it-yourself legal books.

The Executor's Guide

The Executor's Guide

Settle an estate or trust with this all-in-one guide for executors. The Executor's Guide will help you make progress one step at a time through the unfamiliar land of legal procedures and terminology.


The Trustee's Legal Companion

The Trustee's Legal Companion

Learn the ins and outs of being a trustee with this guide for every trust administrator. The Trustee’s Legal Companion shows you exactly how to proceed within the terms of the trust and your state's law.


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