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Estate Planning & Probate Specialists

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Successor trustee could be liable for previous breach of trust

People in Texas need to plan for where their property will go after they pass away. One very effective way of doing that is to create a trust and transfer their property to the trust. As part of the trust they will need to appoint a trustee. This individual will be responsible for managing the property and eventually distributing the property to the beneficiaries of the trust.

The trustee has a very important job and it is important that people choose individuals they trust to carry it out properly.

However, people do not know when they will die and sometimes people pass away long after the trust is originally created. Relationships change and also the health and life circumstances the people named as trustees can change over time. The person originally appointed to be the trustee may not be able to carry out the responsibilities of the trustee. So, it is also important to name a successor trustee as well who could succeed the original trustee and distribute the property.

Another reason people should name a successor trustee is that the original trustee may breach their fiduciary duties and need to be replaced. It is important that the successor corrects the breach though. If the successor trustee allows the breach to continue; fails to compel the predecessor to distribute property or does not make reasonable efforts to correct the breach the successor could also be held responsible even if they did not create the original breach.

Trusts can be a very effective way for people to distribute their property to loved ones after they pass away. However, it is important that people appoint trustees and successor trustees that they trust and can distribute the property appropriately. Breach of trust can be very detrimental for the trust and ultimately the beneficiaries of the trust. There are remedies available for breach of trust though. These matters can be complicated though and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.