Testators often include provisions for successor executors to take over the responsibilities of administration in the event that the primary executor is not able or is unwilling to serve through the entire period of administration. Naming a successor trustee also provides for a more efficient transfer of responsibility in the event the primary trustee steps down.
In the case of Stavin’s Will, there was a dispute related to the appointment of a successor trustee that had its roots after probate began when one of the two co-executed died. The person named by the testator as the deceased co-executor’s successor petitioned the court for letters. The remaining co-executor objected.
In 1969 E. Stavin died testate. In her will she named her two sons, C. Stavin and M. Stavin as co-executors of her estate. The will also named the wife of C. Stavin as his successor executor if C. Stavin predeceased the testator. Similarly, the will named the wife of M. Stavin as his successor executor if he predeceased the testator. Neither son predeceased the testator. However, in 1970, four months after letters were issued, M. Stavin died. For the next 5 years C. Stavin when about the duties of administering E. Stavin’s estate.