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Home » Estate Litigation » Three reasons to seek removal of a trustee

Being the beneficiary of a trust puts you in a position to receive money, property or other kinds of wealth. In fact, a trust income may be crucial to your livelihood. So if the trustee is mismanaging your assets, you will likely want to remove the person from the position.

If a valid reason exists, it is possible to go to court to seek the dismissal of a person managing a trust in favor of someone who can take up the responsibility.

Breach of fiduciary duty

A trustee owes a fiduciary duty to beneficiaries. This means the trustee must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries when managing the trust. Examples of breaches of fiduciary duty include misusing trust assets for personal gain, improperly withholding assets from beneficiaries and having conflicts of interest.

If a beneficiary has evidence a trustee committed a breach of fiduciary duty, the person can petition the court for removal. You as a beneficiary will need to present documentation proving the breach occurred. This could include financial records, emails or other materials.

Lack of necessary skills

Some trustees are not malicious, but they have professional or personal problems that impair their ability to perform their duties. For example, if a trustee files for personal bankruptcy, their money management abilities may be in question. You might argue that the trustee’s own financial troubles make the person unfit to oversee the assets and investments of the trust.

Removal is appropriate to protect the trust from potential mismanagement. The court can appoint a new trustee with proven investing experience and knowledge. This helps provide assurance of proper management of the trust going forward.

Illness or disability

Sometimes a trustee has health issues that make it hard to execute trust duties. A trustee might be old and in declining health, or had contracted a serious illness, or got into a serious auto accident and has suffered cognitive disability. This might make it necessary to seek a court removal if the trustee does not step down.

If you notice serious problems with a trustee, legal options are available. Seeking removal quickly can help prevent damage to the trust before assets become permanently lost.