At the time of the creation of a typical joint living trust, the husband and trustees, they completely control the trust property. If one of them should die, then the remaining spouse usually becomes the sole trustee.
When both the husband and wife die, it is very common for the trust to dissolve and the trust property be given to the adult children of the husband and wife. If there are minor children remaining after the husband and wife die, then usually the trust will continue. Also, some trusts continue after the death of the husband and wife until the adult children attain a certain age such as thirty five.
If a trust continues after the death of the husband and wife, a successor trustee or trustees must be appointed. The successor trustee is usually determined in advance by the husband and wife and is written into the trust agreement. Sometimes a close relative such as a brother or sister is chosen. Occasionally one or more of the adult children of the husband and wife are appointed. However, since a trust is a private entity and generally not subject to review by a court, it is sometimes not desirable to appoint a relative or adult child a trustee. An individual trustee might squander or misappropriate trust funds. Or an individual trustee might make improper or imprudent investments. Since most trusts are not supervised by a court, it is very important that responsible and honest trustee be appointed.
Often a corporate trustee will be appointed. This is usually a bank with a trust department that specializes in administering trusts. Trust departments of large banks generally render professional and competent trust services. The advantages of using a corporate trustee are the impartial and professional services rendered. Sometimes a corporate trustee will be appointed jointly with a surviving spouse or an adult child as joint trustees. This is especially important where the surviving spouse or the adult child has no experience in managing trust property such as stocks, real estate, etc.
The ultimate selection of the successor trustee depends on the preference and instructions of the husband and wife and their decision in this regard is written into the trust instrument.