An Incapcaitated Mother’s Successor Trustee is Overwhelmed by Duties. So What Can They Do?

HNWElder Law

incapacitated adultHere’s an unfortunate story. Mom is incapacitated. She can no longer serve as trustee of her living trust. As successor trustee, the job has fallen to her daughter who is finding the job too difficult and time-consuming. She doesn’t want to do it anymore. Although her brother is backup trustee, the mother named him reluctantly because he is not a responsible person.  There are concerns that he is not up to the responsibility. Can the existing trustee remove the brother from the list and designate someone else to serve, maybe a trusted cousin who is a CPA?

Well, this is a tough question. Now that the daughter has taken over as trustee from her incapacitated mother, her authority is limited to what the trust says she can do. Thus, she would be able to appoint someone as her own successor only if the trust gives her that authority. But even if it does not, do not despair. As successor trustee, you do not need to do all the work of trust administration. You are free to hire competent professionals to assist you. It is totally appropriate to use the services of a lawyer or law firm, that has the capacity to facilitate the management of the trust or a professional money manager and investment advisor. You can also call upon the expertise of a Certified Public Accountant, a real estate broker or any other relevant professional.

Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey trust matter. I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns. You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County New Jersey Trust Attorney

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