Don't leave your successor in the dark

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An easy way to avoid the drama is to have Mom and Dad let the successor trustee know about the appointment.

By Beth Newcomb

Most people recognize that when they have a will drafted and name an executor, they need to let the person they named know about the appointment.

But a surprising number of people who have trusts created on their behalf, with a trustee named to succeed them, neglect to let the person they’ve named know about the appointment.

When that happens, says Jay Nabors, who, along with his wife, Linda, is an attorney with Nabors and Nabors, the Strongsville-based law firm where John J. Urban is of counsel, chaos can ensue.

“We see it more often than you might think,” Jay reveals.

“Mom and Dad make a trust, then name a son or daughter as a successor trustee. After the parents pass, the named child doesn’t realize they’ve become the trustee and doesn’t do the things they’re supposed to do, like see an attorney, or do an accounting of the trust to let the other beneficiaries know the income and expenses of the trust.”

When an appointed trustee fails to perform his or her duties, a lawsuit is often the unfortunate consequence.

“Family members become angry and ultimately many litigate the situation,” Jay says.

An easy way to avoid the drama is to have mama and papa let the successor trustee know about the appointment. If you’re named, the first step after you become successor is to contact an attorney who specializes in estate planning.

If you’re wondering if a trust is right for you, or if a will can suffice, you can contact Jay and Linda to learn about your options.

Nabors & Nabors also offers Mimi readers a free legal services consultation in person or on the phone, with services at a contracted discount rate. Mention this story when you schedule an appointment. House calls and select evening appointments available.

To reach the attorneys at Nabors & Nabors Ltd., with John J. Urban of counsel, call 440-846-0000, ext. 227. The offices are located at 11221 Pearl Road, in Strongsville. Visit the website at