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Can a non-family member be named as a trustee?

New Prague, MN |

So I have a trust that exits until I am 60. I would like to remove my brothers and sisters as potential trustee's and I really don't want the bank to take over. So I am wondering if I could name, for example, my wife's father as the trustee of my account?

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Attorney answers 2


You can name any person you wish to act as trustee of your trust.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.


That depends on the terms of the trust document. Are you the grantor (or creator) of the trust If so, you may very well have the power to change the trustee to anyone you choose. Are you a beneficiary? If so, your right to change the trustee may be limited by the terms of the trust. If all of the current income and residuary beneficiaries agree, you may be able to change the trustee by agreement. You should consult with an attorney who is experienced with trusts and have him or her review the trust document with you.

Mr. Henline is licensed to practice law in the state of Minnesota. He has prcaticed for nearly thirty years and his practice focuses in the areas of trusts, estate planning and probate, real property and small businesses. This does not create an attorney/client relationship. This does not constitue legal advice. The response is intended to provide general legal information. It is limited to facts of the question. You should consult an attorney in the appropriate state involved before making any decisions based on this answer.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick


You have a good point. If asker is not grantor/settlor, then there may be no right to name a trustee at all. Good catch.



So if someone is already named as your trustee can I get that changed to someone else? My father is still alive so I know he would agree to allow me to switch to a different trustee.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick


It depends on the terms of the trust, then. Did your father reserve the right to change trustees? Did he give the beneficiaries the right to do so?

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