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What is the process for changing trustees on a simple realty trust between spouses?

Weymouth, MA |

MY wife and I own an income producing rental house placed in a trust in which we are both beneficiaries. She is the current trustee and we have agreed that she resign as trustee to install me as trustee of the trust..Is this an act we can do ourselves? I don't want to deal with the lawyer that handled the original trust as I practically wrote the trust and terms myself and paid for the privilege so he is out of the question.What are my options.Thanks in advance.

Attorney Answers 4


Trust almost always have a provision dealing with the resignation of trustees and the nomination/appointment of successor trustees. If you wrote it yourself, did you put that provision in? Consult the trust. Trust provisions always control.

If that provision is in there, just follow the directions. Usually it will involve a written resignation and the appointment of a new trustee by majority or unanimous vote of the beneficiaries. But again, check the trust.

If no provision exists, you likely have options under the Massachusetts version of the Uniform Trust Code. That is, assuming the trust was formed under Massachusetts law.

If you can't figure out the answers to these questions, consult an estate planning attorney. Otherwise, you should be able to do it yourself.

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Have an attorney draft a simple amendment-it should not cost very much.
It is more to it than you think.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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It depends on how the trust was written. If the trust terms provide an easy way for your wife to resign and for you to take over, document it and do that. If there aren't any procedures, you can pay a filing fee to the Probate and Family Court and have them order the change. If it's a revocable trust, you can also write a new trust using the same language as the old with yourself as trustee, then make a note that you're revoking the trust in favor of the new trust, for which you would have to re-deed the property in the land records. Beyond that, there's the obvious choice to hire a different attorney to take care of it.

Attorney Rosenberg is admitted to practice in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and currently practices in South-Central Connecticut with an emphasis on estate planning, elder law, probate, and tax matters. He may be contacted confidentially by email at or by phone at (203) 871-3830. All correspondence through this website appears publicly, is not confidential, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Atty. Rosenberg. Discretion should always be employed when posting personal information online. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ All online content provided by Atty. Rosenberg on this and other websites is provided for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. All content is general in nature. Attorneys are unable to ask the questions necessary to fully understand the legal issues faced by any particular poster. Postings and responses to questions only provide general insights on the topic discussed. They are not tailored to any reader’s specific situation, will not be accurate in all states, and are never updated or maintained to reflect changes in the law. No person should take action based on the information provided by anyone on or any other law-themed website without first consulting a local attorney with significant experience in your area of concern. Persuant to Circular 230, no online content may be used by any person to avoid taxes or penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.

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Generally a realty trust has a provision for the beneficiaries to nominate a new trustee. Since the trust is presumably recorded, the resignation of a trustee, nomination and acceptance of appointment all must also be recorded. You should seek the help of an attorney to make sure that all the provisions are properly drafted and signed. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance.

E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.

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