If you are the beneficiary of the trust, your role is not entirely passive. It is important to be pro-active in order to protect your interests. This includes keeping yourself well informed of the trustee’s activities with regard to the management of trust assets and the administration of the trust. Furthermore, if you have reason to believe that problems exist, it is crucial that you step in quickly to petition the court to remove a trustee or other action. This helps to minimize damage of the trust assets.
Five Reasons to Remove a Trustee
When should you consider getting the court involved to remove a trustee? The following are five examples:
- You suspect that the trustee is mismanaging the trust assets. This is true even if the mismanagement is without bad intent. Trustees have an obligation to seek assistance from experienced professionals if they need assistance managing and protecting the trust assets. If they do not seek the necessary assistance, harm can result. Beneficiaries should consider seeking removal of a trustee in these circumstances.
- The trustee refuses to communicate regularly with the beneficiaries. If the trustee is not keeping you informed about the trust and its assets despite your requests to do so, it may be time to take more aggressive action and involve the court by petitioning for a trustee removal.
- You suspect that the trustee is making decisions in his or her own best interest. A basic duty of all trustees is to take actions that benefit the trust as a whole and its beneficiaries. When a trustee takes actions that are self-serving, this is grounds for removal. Beneficiaries should petition the court as quickly as possible to prevent loss of trust assets.
- You suspect that the trustee is in poor health. In some cases, a trustee is no longer be fit to fulfill the duties of a trustee, but is unwilling to accept it. In order to protect your interests in the trust, it is important to petition the court to have the trustee removed.
- You are made aware of criminal convictions in the trustee’s past that give you reason to believe the trustee will not handle the trust administration properly. In these situations, it is important to involve the probate court to request removal of the trustee, or, at a minimum, add court oversight of the administration process.
Understanding when to take action against a trustee is not always easy. Fortunately, we have many years of experience helping beneficiaries like you protect their interests. We encourage you to reach out today for guidance. Send us an email to schedule a consultation!
AttorneyThe Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307