For those Woodland Hills residents who want to retain as much control as they can over the administration of their estates, it is often recommended that they take the steps necessary during planning to avoid the probate process. One way to do this is to place one’s estate assets into a living trust. One of the most important aspects of creating a trust is to name another to serve as trustee. Yet one thing that a grantor should consider is what would happen if, for some reason, the role of his or her trustee were to be vacated.
According to Section 15643 of the California Probate Code, a trustee vacancy would technically exist in any of the following scenarios:
- The person originally named as trustee dies.
- He or she either rejects the responsibility, resigns, or is removed by the court or the trust’s beneficiaries.
- The named trustee cannot be located.
- The trustee is facing an order for relief as a part of a bankruptcy.
- He or she is placed under the supervision of a guardian or conservator.
If the trust is assigned to a trust company, and that company suddenly loses its charter for more than 30 days, the office of trustee is also considered vacated.
One cannot necessarily prevent any of the aforementioned scenarios from occurring. However, he or she can create a trustee succession plan. Section 15660 of the Probate Code states that if a grantor has provided a practical method for naming a replacement trustee, the court will honor his or her wishes. If no succession details are provided, the court may then choose to name its own trustee or assign the case to a trust company. Interested parties to the estate may also petition to be named as trustee if a vacancy exists.