Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 20, 2013

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Trustee resignation should usually occur according to the terms of the trust. Other times, a trustee resignation form may be used. It is important that a trustee who wishes to withdraw do so properly in order to avoid any future liability. As long as you are trustee, you are a fiduciary of the trust with a duty of loyalty and a duty of care to the trust and the beneficiaries. This includes resigning as trustee.

You must resign properly in order to ensure that you are not held responsible for adverse consequences were they to occur during or after your resignation. Even if the trust seems absolutely clear, you may want to consult with an attorney for help and to ensure you are in compliance with the trust terms and the law. 


  • Check the original trust document to see if a successor trustee is listed. Ideally, a trust will list a successor trustee. If they do not, then request one when you agree to become the trustee. If there is no successor trustee listed, a new trustee will have to be appointed. The court will likely do this, get help from an attorney.  
  • Prepare a full financial and investment report of the trust along with all trust related documents and contact information for outside investment relations. This “Trust Kit” will make the transition for the new trustee much easier and show that you acted responsibly to help you avoid any future liability.
  • Obtain a Trustee Resignation Form from the court, online, or from an attorney and complete and sign it in the presence of a witness and notary.
  • Make three copies of your resignation. Give one to the new trustee in the “Trust Kit”, one to the trust beneficiary, and keep one on file.
  • Assist the new trustee with any other transitional issues as needed.

Again, it is best to consult with an attorney if you have any questions regarding your resignation and the transition to a new trustee.