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Six Steps for Removing a California Trustee Who Is Not Mentally Stable

Often, when discussing a California will or trust litigation matter, the focus of the conversation is on the mental capacity of the person who created the trust. What happens, however, when it is the mental capacity of the trustee that is in question? Clearly, the trustee of a trust in San Diego bears a great deal of responsibility. He or she has a duty to manage and preserve the trust assets and to carry out the terms of the trust. When the trustee’s mental capacity is in question, it can cause irreparable harm to the trust assets. If the trustee is not willing to acknowledge his or her diminished mental capacity, the beneficiaries may need to pursue legal action in order to have a new trustee appointed.

If you are a beneficiary of a trust in California and suspect that the trustee is no longer mentally capable of fulfilling his or her duties, consider taking the following actions:

  1. Contact an experienced San Diego trust litigation attorney for guidance. Time is of the essence since valuable trust assets could be in jeopardy.
  2. Obtain a copy of the trust.
  3. Gather copies of all records of the trust.
  4. Assemble copies of all written communications between yourself and the trustee, especially those that indicate the trustee’s diminished mental capacity.
  5. Review the terms of the trust for the proper procedure for removing a trustee.
  6. Consider filing a petition with the San Diego probate court if recommended by your attorney.

In addition to seeking the permanent removal of a trustee, a beneficiary may also seek to have the trustee temporarily suspended. To learn more about this process, read our article, Temporary Trustee Suspension: Protect the Assets of a California Trust. In addition, our free book, Trust and Will Litigation in California, offers more information about the trust litigation process.  Contact an experienced San Diego probate court attorney for a consultation at (888) 443-6590.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307

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