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Removing a trustee from administering an estate

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2023 | Estate Planning, Trusts

A trustee has a duty to act in the best interest of the trust beneficiaries. However, sometimes the trustee does not meet this duty and needs to be removed from their responsibilities.

Reasons for removal

There are several reasons it may be necessary to remove a trustee. These include when the trustee acts negligently, fraudulently or in their own self-interest. It also may be needed when the trustee is not managing the trust assets appropriately, like making unwise investment decisions or wasting trust assets.

Trustees should not manage a trust where they have a conflict of interest that is unresolved. If the trustee fails to distribute trust assets appropriately, they do not provide regular accounting statements to the beneficiaries or if they breach another term contained in the trust agreement those may be reasons for removal.

Sometimes, a trustee may need to be removed through no fault of their own. This can happen if the trustee becomes mentally or physically incapacitated, if they have an extended illness, or they need to relocate.

Removal process

If a beneficiary would like to remove the trustee, they must first file a petition with the court which outlines why the trustee should be removed and includes evidence to support their position.

The petitioner will need to give notice to all interested parties, including the trustee and other beneficiaries. The court will hold a hearing, where the parties will be able to present evidence.

If the court finds that there are grounds to remove the trustee, it will appoint a successor trustee. The successor trustee will take responsibility for the trust assets at that time.