Trusts are designed to pass wealth from one generation to the next in a smooth, organized way. Trustees have a pretty big job — and they’re expected to do their best to comply with the expectations placed upon them.
But what happens if you think the trustee isn’t up to the job? Removing a trustee isn’t something that the court will do lightly, but it is possible. Here are some of the reasons to consider legal action against a trustee:
1. The trust has been mismanaged
If you suspect that your trustee has been making bad investments, wasting the assets in the trust and violating their fiduciary duty, it’s possible that the trustee is either incompetent, negligent or overwhelmed.
2. You think the trustee is self-dealing
There are all kinds of situations where a trustee can benefit from their service. However, if you suspect that the trustee is violating their fiduciary duties and dipping into the funds inappropriately, it’s important to take action.
3. The terms of the trust are being violated
Every trust has specific terms for how it is supposed to be managed and when the funds are to be disbursed. Some give the trustee very little discretion — while others grant a trustee wider latitude. However, if a trustee seems to be violating the intent of the trust, that’s a huge problem.
4. The beneficiaries and the trustee have conflicts
Nobody says that a trustee has to be warm and friendly toward the beneficiaries of the trust — but they do have to keep lines of communication open and be civil. If the relationship with your trustee has devolved into open hostility, it may be time to ask the court for a replacement.
5. There’s some other reason the trustee needs to be removed
Essentially, you can make an argument to remove a trustee if you believe that they shouldn’t be doing the job for some reason. Maybe the trustee is in poor health, maybe they have a problem with addiction or maybe they’re currently under a cloud of suspicion due to criminal charges. All of those might be considered “good cause” for removal.
If you question your trustee’s fitness for the job, let our office take a look at the situation today.