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Can the successor trustee be changed on an irrevocable trust?

90623 |

Two married people have a revocable trust and they are the trustees. Upon the death of one of the trustees, the trust is split into A and B portions. Trust B representing the portion of the estate attributed to the deceased trustee then becomes Irrevocable.

Can the one remaining trustee appoint a different successor trustee on Part B the irrevocable portion of the overall trust?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. This depends on the terms of your trust. It would be relatively unusual for you to have a separate trustee for each part of the trust. It can be done, and it sometimes is, but most of the time, the surviving spouse is trustee of both trusts, sometimes acting with a co-trustee, and sometimes not. Often, the spouse is given rights to discretionary distributions from BOTH parts of the trust.

    Obviously, the terms of YOUR trust guide what you can and cannot do, here. If these provisions are not clear to you, I would have your attorney review this with you in more detail.

    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.


  2. This question cannot be answered without reviewing the terms of the Trust. Some trusts allow the survivor to change the trustees and others don't. Has the first spouse already passed away? If he or she has already passed away, the survivor should meet with an attorney to discuss what needs to be done to administer the Trust. There are a number if steps that must be taken. If both spouses are living, they should meet with an attorney to ensure that the Trust reflects their wishes.

    DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PRESENTED HERE IS GENERAL IN NATURE. IT IS NOT INTENDED, NOR SHOULD IT BE CONSTRUED, AS LEGAL ADVICE. THIS RESPONSE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH A QUALIFIED ATTORNEY FOR SPECIFIC LEGAL ADVICE ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR SITUATION.


  3. Both attorney offer sound advice. The trust document needs to be reviewed by an estates attorney to obtain a conclusive answer.

    Hope this helps.

    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website for more tax, estate and business articles is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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