Clients often struggle with selecting a successor trustee for a revocable living trust and an executor of their will. There are several choices that a client can make in selecting a trustee. The following is not an exhaustive list but provides some ideas for selecting a trustee.

Family Members

Most of my clients select one of their children as a successor trustee and executor. If a client’s children are not adults or the client does not have children, many clients select family members such as siblings or nephews and nieces. I have also seen clients select in-laws and other relatives. However, there are times that a person may not want to select a family member because of potential conflicts with other family members or a lack of trust. In that case there are other options.

Corporate Trustees

A corporate trustee is a professional third party that would act as trustee of a trust. The biggest issue in selecting a corporate trustee is the price tag, which is often based upon a percentage of assets held in the trust. In addition to selecting a corporate trustee, a corporate trustee must also agree to be the trustee so it will need to review the contents of the trust.

Private Professional Fiduciary

There are a number of persons who can act as a private professional fiduciary. Here, it is important to investigate a private professional fiduciary’s background and ensure that they are to be trusted. In addition, often times a private professional fiduciary will hire their own legal counsel, financial adviser, and other advisers to handle issues they do not feel adequately adept at handling.


Clients sometimes select a trusted friend, often times a lawyer or other professional and who normally does not act as a trustee for others. Although this might be a good idea, you should always consult with that friend to see if he or she would be interested in acting as trustee. It is important to note that most professional liability insurance does not cover the role of a professional acting as a trustee.

There are a number of choices in selecting a successor trustee. Please call Attorney Anthony Marinaccio at 818-839-5220 to discuss your options and if you are interested in beginning your estate plan.