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Why would you remove a trustee?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Trustee Removal/Defense

A trust is an estate planning tool that people can use to hold assets. For instance, someone could fund a trust with $100,000 while they’re still alive. They can also pick a beneficiary who will get distributions from the trust and a trustee who is in charge of making those distributions.

However, there are some cases in which family members will seek to remove a trustee. The elderly person may already have passed away, so they are not involved in this process. Why would other family members want to remove the chosen trustee, and are there any good reasons for them to do so?

Not following the proper regulations

One reason is if the trustee is violating the rules and regulations of the trust itself. For instance, perhaps the trust was established to pay for a grandchild’s college education. The trustee is supposed to make distributions to cover tuition, room and board, books and classroom materials, and many other costs. But they refuse to do so, making it impossible for the beneficiary to attend college. If the trustee is failing to perform their duties, either intentionally or negligently, they may have to be removed.

Using the money for themselves

One issue that sometimes comes up is that the trustee will simply use the money for their own purposes. They will make unauthorized distributions or transfer money to their own bank account. They are mismanaging the trust’s assets and attempting to use the situation to their own advantage. This is never what was intended for the trust and may prompt removal.

Removing a trustee can be difficult. Those who are attempting to do so need to know exactly what legal steps to take.