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When Should a Successor Trustee Seek Legal Assistance?

Posted on in Estate Planning and Probate

San Antonio trusts lawyerThe duties of a successor trustee can be complex and varied. Depending on the nature of the instructions left by the grantor, a successor trustee may have significant discretion in distributing trust funds, or none at all. Despite holding the instructions of a now-deceased grantor sacred, a series of difficulties may arise for the successor trustee. Situations may arise frustrating the purpose of a trust or rendering its continued administration impracticable. Successor trustees, even professionals, may encounter situations that are legally complex and require a high level of skill and commitment. Beneficiaries, or those who were not named as beneficiaries, may not be amenable to the successor trustee’s handling of the trust. Legal challenges may be brought. A majority of fiduciaries tasked with managing another’s trust for the benefit of the grantor’s selected beneficiaries may benefit from legal assistance at some point in the execution of their duties. 

Occasions When It May be Prudent for a Successor Trustee to Contact an Attorney

It may be advisable for a new successor trustee to consult an attorney at the outset of trust administration. An attorney can review the language contained in the trust to clarify the nature of the trustee’s duties and provide ongoing legal support. 

Other circumstances under which a successor trustee should consider contacting a lawyer include: 

  • Dissatisfied beneficiaries - If you are alerted as to a beneficiary’s dissatisfaction with your handling of the trust or trust funds, the possibility of legal action shortly following such notice is relatively high. Before potentially becoming embroiled in litigation, it would be wise to secure skilled representation. 
  • Complexity - Not all trusts are of equal complexity, nor are all trustees of equal financial savvy. If you find that the proscribed duties associated with your position are of substantial complexity, even if you possess sophisticated financial management skills, an attorney may be able to help ensure that the trust is being administrated correctly and in accordance with all relevant laws. 
  • Frustration of purpose - Grantors design trusts to posthumously serve specific purposes, such as providing for the financial security of the grantor’s descendants or supporting a charitable cause. If you find that circumstances have arisen such as to defeat the purpose of the trust, contacting an attorney may be the safest course of action. 4

The duty bestowed upon a successor trustee can be great. Having skilled legal assistance may be invaluable to fiduciaries. 

Contact a Texas Fiduciary Representation Attorney

Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law is committed to providing skilled legal support to successor trustees. Our experienced Wilson County fiduciary representation lawyers can aid you in carrying out your duties without running afoul of any applicable rules. Call 210-535-0870 to receive a free consultation. 



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