Potential Solutions For Beneficiaries Who Do Not Trust A Trustee
During the administration of a trust, it is important that there be mutual trust and understanding between the beneficiaries and the trustees. When this trust is absent, disputes may result. Beneficiaries clearly have a vested interest in ensuring that the trustee is handling the trust assets properly. It is important for these beneficiaries to take action if they suspect that a trustee is untrustworthy.
Six Options for Beneficiaries Dealing With Untrustworthy Trustees
What can you do if you no longer trust the trustee of a trust? As a beneficiary, you have several options. The following is an overview of some of the more common options:
- Request a copy of the trust accounting. It may relieve some of your concern to see exactly how the assets of the trusts are being handled.
- If the trustee refuses or delays handing over a copy of the trust accounting, you can petition the court to compel the trustee to render the accounting.
- If the trustee is making unequal allocations of trust income among the beneficiaries, consult with an attorney to help you review the terms of the trust. It may be the case that the trust allows the trustee to make these distributions in his or her sole discretion.
- In some cases, you may be able to remove the trustee. Consult with an attorney to carefully review the trust provisions regarding removal of a trustee. Some trusts will allow beneficiaries to remove a trustee and appoint another individual, or a professional trust company, to fill this role.
- If the trust does not give the beneficiaries the authority to remove a trustee and you suspect the trustee of wrongdoing or neglect, you may need to pursue more aggressive action. Beneficiaries can petition the probate court for removal of a trustee under these circumstances. The court will review the actions of the trustee, as well as the accompanying facts and circumstances, and make a decision as to whether to remove the trustee. A hearing may also take place in order to hear the arguments from both parties.
- Evaluate whether the trust contains a trust protector provision. A trust protector is an individual whose role is to provide an extra check on the discretionary powers of the trustee. If the trustee is making poor or inappropriate decisions, the trust protector can step in to veto certain decisions.
If you find yourself needing to take legal action against the trustee of a trust, we are here to help. We encourage you to read what our former clients have to say about our services by checking out our client testimonials page today.
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