Reasons and Grounds for Removing a Trustee

When you want to transfer some of your property to someone else to manage on your behalf, you can name them as a trustee in a living trust. As the name implies, this should be someone you trust to handle this responsibility. For example, you could use a deed to transfer a home – the trustee will only manage the home while legal ownership is technically instilled in the trust itself. But we all know that knowing exactly who is trustworthy can be a difficult task. So if you lose trust in your trustee, can you remove them from the trust, or are they there for good?

If you run into problems with your trust that can be linked directly to a trustee, you can remove them. Consider these following most common reasons and grounds to have a trustee removed. If you think one or more of them may apply to your situation, contact the Law Office of Conrad Willkomm, P.A. today. Our Naples trust attorney can help you start down the right path to remaking a trust that works for you, beginning with the removal of the undesired trustee.

Top 5 Reasons You Can Remove a Trustee

  1. Failure to comply: A trust does not simply transfer property management responsibilities and end it there, it will outline a thorough list of obligations that must be met. If the trustee cannot meet the requirements you established, they can be removed through a court petition.
  2. Neglect: A trust's funds can only be used towards goals and financial ventures you have named or expressed interest in. A trustee that inexcusably wastes funds, or otherwise lowers the value of the trust, is a trustee that you do not need in charge of your property.
  3. Theft: A trustee might attempt to "line their own pockets" with trust fund money, essentially stealing finances you set aside so they can use them to their own benefit. This is sometimes called self-dealing and it can be technically legal depending on the guidelines of your trust. Legal or not, it is always grounds for removal.
  4. Specific cause: When you take a trustee and your trust to probate court for removal, you can use specific evidence to your case to make your argument. If you can show you have just cause to want them gone, even if they have not done anything wrong, the court may listen.
  5. Hostile: A trustee who fully understands and complies with their duties is great, but not if they are hostile towards you and your family while doing so. A general sense of anger or bitterness will understandably remove your trust in them, and so they should be removed from your trust.
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