How to change Trustee

Clients often ask if they can change a Trustee. The simple answer to that is yes, but you won’t be surprised to know there is a note of caution to that.

Sometimes, when clients are in the middle of trying to get their affairs in order, update their Wills and organise Trusts and so on, they get frustrated. It can feel like you are bombarded with questions and information, and it just becomes a bit much.

If that happens it can be tempting to choose the most obvious, and often closest, people as Trustees. And indeed, for other roles like Guardians and Executors too. After all, you have chosen people you know,  and now all of that can be ticked off your list.

But we want to encourage you not to rush this. If you are becoming frustrated or feel that there’s too much coming at you, ask your adviser to slow down. Tackle a bit at a time – so maybe sort your Trust out before doing your Will.

Take time to reflect on who would be the best choice to not only look after your estate and carry out your wishes, but also take care of your family and loved ones. Communicate with them in the best way and consider their needs at a time when they are very vulnerable.

And equally, Trustees need to understand that they are signing up for a role for life. They need to know their responsibilities and what is expected of them, before agreeing to take it on.

So, let’s assume you have done all of that, but a Trustee dies or wishes to retire from their role. Oh, by the way, there is no age limit for Trustees, and they don’t have to “retire” because they reach pension age, it is just the expression used for if a Trustee wishes to relinquish their role.

If you have three or more Trustees, you do not need to replace a Trustee if they should pass away or wish to retire. However, you must have at least two Trustees. Therefore, if one of the two Trustees no longer wishes to carry out the role they need to be replaced.

You can nominate someone to have the power to appoint new Trustees – for example your main beneficiary. If you don’t nominate anybody, then the remaining Trustee would have the power to appoint.

Should there be a situation where you had died, and then all of the Trustees died, without being replaced, it would fall to the beneficiary of the last Trustee to nominate the replacement Trustees.

The actual process of changing the Trustee is just a form that needs to be completed by the relevant parties.

If you would like some help with setting up a Trust, or need to make changes to Trustees, please contact us on 01344 875 310.

change a Trustee