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Circumstances under which a trustee may need to be replaced

When your loved one created his or her trust, it was necessary to choose someone to administer the trust after his or her death. Your loved one more than likely chose this person because he or she believed that person would do a good job and trust the individual as well.

Now that the individual is serving as the trustee of a trust to which you are a beneficiary, you may be wondering what your loved one was thinking when choosing him or her. In fact, you may also be wondering whether you can replace the trustee.

Can one replace a trustee?

The simple answer to this question is yes. However, you need to have a good reason to do so and will usually need to go to court in order to request that the court remove the current trustee and appoint a replacement. The most common reasons a court will approve such a request include the following:

  • If the trustee is not administering the trust efficiently and effectively, the court may remove and replace him or her. The trustee does not have to fail in this duty purposely since he or she may simply not have the skill, time or inclination to do so.
  • If the trustee seriously breaches your trust by mishandling funds, uses the trust for personal benefit or refuses to fulfill your request for information regarding the trust's administration, you may have grounds for removal. Other breaches may also fall into this category.
  • If you and the other beneficiaries band together and request that the court remove and replace the trustee, the court may approve it if it does not go against the intent of your loved one and serves your best interests. However, if your loved one identified a specific reason for a particular person's appointment, the court may not approve your request.
  • If the trust lists co-trustees, they will need to work together in order to effectively administer the trust. If they don't work well together, the court may make a change.

As you can see, the reasons for removing a trustee are somewhat limited. However, every case is unique, and the court may consider other factors before making a decision. If you wonder whether your circumstances constitute a reason to remove and replace the trustee, you could schedule a consultation with an attorney experienced in trust litigation. If it appears there are grounds for removal, having an advocate on your side throughout the process could prove invaluable.

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Fountain Valley, CA 92708

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