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How to Transfer Property upon the Death of the Trustee

The trustee is the person designated to oversee all aspects of a trust. Upon the death of the trustee, immediate steps are taken to ensure the proper management of the trust. This includes the transfer of property upon the death of the trustee.

The procedures associated with transferring property are governed by specific laws in each of the 50 states. Most states utilize the Uniform Probate Code or a variation of that statutory scheme. Normally the trust beneficiaries are responsible for taking action.


5 Steps to Transfer Property upon the Death of the Trustee

Transfer Property upon the Death of the Trustee


1. Contact the individual designated as the successor trustee in the trust agreement.

The majority of trust agreements identify a new trustee to take over in the event of the death or incapacitation of the original person appointed to that position.


2. Obtain the signature of the successor trustee named in the trust agreement on an acknowledgment.

The acknowledgment is a simple document that merely states that this individual agrees to assume the roles and accept the responsibilities of the trustee.


3. File a petition with the local probate court seeking the appointment of a new trustee if no substitute or successor trustee is named in the trust agreement.

Within the petition, the name of a new trustee is suggested for the court’s consideration.


4. Obtain a final order from the probate court naming an individual to serve as the new trustee of the trust.


5. Provide the newly appointed trustee with the original copy of the trust agreement, deeds to all real estate and records relating to financial accounts of all types.

With the order of the court or the signed acknowledgment, the new trustee will have the power and authority necessary to oversee the affairs of the trust.


Tips and Warnings
Matters involving trusts are complex in some situations. Therefore, in the aftermath of the death of a trustee, the beneficiaries of a trust are wise in engaging a qualified attorney. An attorney will be able to take all steps necessary to ensure the proper appointment of a new trustee. This particularly is the case when the trust agreement does not name a replacement trustee.


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