Can a trustee resign?

Can a trustee resign?

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2021 | Estate Planning & Probate |

Not everyone who’s appointed as a trustee is prepared for what the job entails. Maybe you accepted a friend’s or family member’s request to do the job because you were flattered. Perhaps the person who appointed you was relatively young and healthy, so you didn’t give the responsibilities much thought. 

However, being a trustee can be difficult on multiple levels. Managing a spendthrift or other type of trust for a beneficiary who can’t be trusted to handle a large sum of money can carry a lot of pressure -– particularly if that beneficiary is a sibling who takes your decisions personally.

Some types of trust require trustees with financial and investment acumen (or at least access to professionals with this knowledge) to help the trust grow and pay income to the beneficiary. 

Is there a designated successor trustee?

How do you resign from the job after the person who established the trust has passed away? If there’s a successor trustee already designated (which it’s wise for people setting up a trust to do), you would submit your notice of resignation in writing to them so they can take over control of the assets.

Under North Carolina law, if there’s no successor trustee, the beneficiary of the trust has 90 days to designate a successor trustee. If the beneficiary has a guardian, that guardian becomes the successor trustee. If a beneficiary doesn’t appoint a new trustee or there’s no guardian, the trustee can appoint their own successor.

Why designating successors when estate planning is crucial

As noted, it’s always wise for people to give serious thought to whom they choose to administer their estate or parts of it after they die, name at least one successor for each position and make sure that everyone they’ve named is able and willing to take on the job. It’s also crucial to update an estate plan whenever someone named to one of these positions passes away or can no longer handle the position.

Are you a trustee who has concerns about your ability to carry out your obligations? Have you already made the decision to resign, but there’s no successor trustee named in the trust? It may be wise to seek legal guidance to help ensure that the assets with which you’ve been entrusted remain in qualified hands.