Considering In-Laws as Trustees

Stephen Howard — Stone River Law

Real People. Real Solutions.

Considering In-Laws as Trustees

Should I name my son-in-law or daughter-in-law as a trustee in my Utah living trust?

The trustee you name should, of course, be someone that you can trust completely. This person will be responsible for managing the trust estate appropriately after your death – and possibly even during your lifetime.

There are a variety of factors to consider in naming any trustee. An important factor unique to the decision of whether to name a son-in-law or daughter-in-law as a trustee, co-trustee, or successor trustee of a Utah living trust, is the possibility of a divorce. A divorce will not only change the legal status between former in-laws, but can also change your personal relationships in significant ways.

Most living trusts in Utah are written so that they can be amended, modified, or even revoked during the grantor’s lifetime. If a divorce occurs while you are still alive, you can modify your trust and name a different successor trustee. But most Utah living trusts become irrevocable when the grantor dies, and generally cannot be modified without the express consent of all beneficiaries. If a divorce occurs after or near the time of your death, your ex-son-in-law or ex-daughter-in-law could continue serving as trustee.

Estate Planning is a Process – Not an Event

You should periodically reevaluate your estate plan to determine whether it still meets your needs and goals, and whether the people you have nominated to fill key roles are still the right people for those positions. The question of who to name as a trustee or successor trustee in your living trust is a very personal decision. While an attorney can give you advice and help you understand the various issues involved in your decision, the decision is one you must ultimately make yourself.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Utah wills and trusts attorney Stephen Howard.