“My dad just died and had a trust, but I’m being told that I need an executor. What does that mean?”
If a parent dies and has estate planning documents, like a trust that they created during their lifetime, the goal is to fund that trust.
If the person that was named as trustee of that trust is being told by, for example, a financial institution, that they need to have an executor appointed to manage the asset, it means that financial asset never got retitled into the trust during the person’s lifetime. This means that there is an asset sitting outside of the trust.
The only person who can retitle an asset is the owner, an agent under a power of attorney, or after their death, the executor. That’s why the financial institution is telling the trustee of a trust, after someone has passed away, that they need an executor appointed – because the trust wasn’t funded during their lifetime.
They may have had a beautiful trust written up, but it’s not doing its job [of avoiding probate] because it didn’t receive assets while the person was alive.
Why Would a Financial Firm Require an Executor for a Trust?
If your father passed away, for instance, and his company is telling you that you need to be appointed as executor to manage an asset and he has a trust, the reason is because your father didn’t either title the account into his trust during his lifetime, or assign a beneficiary to the account so it passed to his heirs when he died.
For that reason, the child who is named as the trustee of the trust, can’t manage the asset because you simply don’t own it. An executor has to be appointed in order to transfer that asset to the trust so you can follow your father’s wishes after he’s gone.