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Co-trustees

While it’s much more common to have one trustee in charge of a trust, there are occasions when multiple trustees will serve jointly. From experience, it is often the case that a settlor/grantor (i.e., the person who creates the trust) will appoint co-trustees because the extent of the responsibilities calls for more than one person, or simply that they do not want to hurt somebody’s feelings by not naming them as a trustee.

There are some special rules that govern co-trustees. Unless the trust instrument provides otherwise, the co-trustees act by a majority decision. A co-trustee is obligated to participate in the trust’s administration, unless the co-trustee is unavailable to perform the responsibility because of absence, illness, disqualification under other law, or there has been a proper delegation of responsibilities to another trustee. Additionally, a co-trustee has an affirmative obligation to prevent a co-trustee from committing a serious breach of trust and compelling a co-trustee to redress a serious breach of trust.

Contact us with trust, will, estate, or probate matters.