From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Changes to New York Revocable Living Trusts
Most Recently Updated July 15, 2018.
“I formed a Revocable Living Trust to avoid New York probate and named my two sons as the co-successor trustees. It seemed a good idea at the time, but now they are not speaking to one another. Should I change the trust?”
Changes to New York Revocable Living Trusts
Many New Yorkers have formed Revocable Living Trusts to avoid the expensive New York probate process. For the trust to work properly, after your death, you need a successor trustee to step in to pay your final bills, taxes and to then distribute the trust assets to your heirs.
What is often overlooked is that this same person will step in to serve as trustee if you are ever incapacitated. So not only should the successor trustee be a person who can tie up your estate matters, the trustee must also be someone who can handle your affairs if you get Alzheimer’s or Dementia and require care for many years.
Considering Your Children
It is natural to turn to your children for this job. But, if your children do not get along, that arrangement can be a disaster. Each of them could retain an attorney and end up in court fighting about the smallest decisions—all being paid for out of your assets. If your children do not get along, and if you feel that picking one over the other would cause hurt feelings, then by all means select another person or entity to be the trustee.
Professionals as Trustee
A professional, such as your CPA, attorney, or a trust company will charge for the services—but that cost will be small compared to the litigation costs that will arise should your sons fail to cooperate with one another. Further, I find that it is always better for a family to avoid a conflict that might end up meaning they will not speak to each other. Let them be a little angry with one another, but don’t put them in a position where they fan that small anger into long term animosity.
More Probate Questions?
Picking a proper Trustee is only part of the overall probate process. By all means, if you wish to learn more, please read my more detailed article, The Probate Process All You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: Changes to New York Revocable Living Trusts
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining trustee planning. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!
Let our Probate Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced Probate Attorneys. By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!
Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do