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By: Scott Grossman on July 19th, 2017

What to Do When a Trustee Is Mentally Incompetent

If you are the successor trustee of a trust, you may think that you will never have to take action to administer the trust. Unfortunately, trustees are susceptible to illness, injury, and death, just like the rest of us. If you suspect that a trustee is mentally incompetent, it is important to take action to have them removed. Trustees have an obligation to protect and manage the trust assets. If the current trustee is unable to carry out the duties, the successor trustee must then intervene.

 5 Steps to Take if You Suspect a Trustee is Mentally Incompetent

Take these steps if you are successor trustees of a trust and you suspect that the current trustee is mentally incompetent:

  1. First, consult with an experienced attorney familiar with the unique issues relating to findings of mental incompetence and trust administration.
  2. Next, review the terms of the trust to determine the requirements that you need to meet, for a successor to take over.
  3. Then, review the terms of the trust and California law to assess the standard used to determine mental incapacity.
  4. Determine what types of medical evaluations will be legally sufficient for a finding of mental incompetence.
  5. Lastly, consider whether an evaluation by a medical expert is necessary.

Remember, if you suspect the appointed trustee to be mentally incompetent, you must act quickly. Failing to act, could lead to a loss, or wasting of the trust’s assets and a loss of inheritance.


If you are ready to start your case, then please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form. A comprehensive overview of California Probate is available here. Should you have any additional questions about trust litigation, you will find plenty of useful information in our Learning Center.