“How do I get a trustee removed from a trust?” It’s a complicated question, but one that we are going to look at today because it’s an important subject to touch on, particularly if you’re the one seeking trustee removal!
“How Do I Get a Trustee Removed From a Trust?”
Before we get into the details, let’s take a quick look at the basics of trusts.
A trust agreement is a document that outlines specific rules to be followed in regard property held in that trust for beneficiaries. There are various types of trusts, each having a specific intention and having its own set of rules in addition to the specific rules outlined by the person setting up the trust.
The person who sets up a trust is referred to as the trustor, settlor, or grantor.
A person who receives benefits from the trust is referred to as the beneficiary.
The person who is appointed as being “in charge” of the trust is referred to as the trustee.
Why Would You Want to Get a Trustee Removed From a Trust?
There are various reasons why you might want to get a trustee removed from a trust:
- Removing a trustee if more than one trustee is named in a trust and the co-trustees don’t get along.
- Removing a trustee for failure to comply with the terms of the trust
- Removing a trustee due to misconduct.
- Removing a trustee due to their incapacity.
- Removing a trustee because their fees are too high.
- Removing a trustee because there is a conflict of interest.
- Removing a trustee because of self-dealing.
- Removing a trustee for failure to act.
- Removing a trustee for being under undue influence.
- Removing a trustee for non-cooperation with a vital party.
- Removing a trustee for abuse of discretion.
- Removing a trustee for mismanaging or neglecting trust assets.
- Removing a trustee due to misappropriation of funds.
- Removing a trustee for breach of trust.
- Removing a trustee for breach of fiduciary duty.
- Removing a trustee for hostility towards the beneficiaries.
- Removing a trustee who is unfit.
So, “How Do I Get a Trustee Removed?”
If you are seeking the removal of a trustee for any of the reasons noted above then the first step in the process is to hire an estate litigation attorney who can help. Your attorney will then be able to petition to have the trustee removed from the trust.
If the trustee that you are seeking to have removed from the trust has also caused damage to the trust through their actions or lack of actions, your attorney will also be able to request the trustee file a formal account. In the formal account process, your attorney can get an order of discovery that lets them depose the trustee, get hold of records, subpoena evidence, and interview any witnesses pertinent to the case.
If, after this process, a trustee will not change their behavior as well as make restitution to a point where the beneficiary is satisfied, a hearing will be held by a judge. During this hearing, your attorney will then present the evidence they have gathered according to court rules. The judge will then consider this evidence and decide whether or not the trustee is to be removed. If they decide that there are legitimate grounds for removal, the judge will then order for their removal and request that the trustee pay damages.
Why Do You Need an Attorney to Help with Trustee Removal?
So, is trustee removal something that you can manage yourself or do you have to have an attorney?
You need an attorney for the trustee removal process for a number of reasons:
- The trustee removal process is complex and must follow specific rules that your attorney is familiar with. These rules can be exceptionally confusing if you don’t have legal experience but failure to follow them can easily harm your case.
- A trustee rarely if ever “goes quietly” when they face removal from a trust, this can cause a number of problems that you just don’t want to handle alone. Your attorney will be able to take care of everything you need to be done to initiate and follow through with the removal of a trustee.
- An attorney will let the trustee in question know that you are serious in seeking their removal and they are less likely to push back if they know that you intend to follow through.
- Hiring an attorney for trustee removal will also ensure that you have an experienced attorney on your side if a judge calls for a court hearing. This also makes sure that the necessary protocols are followed as far as the presentation of evidence in the court hearing.
Can You Afford an Attorney to Help with Trustee Removal?
You can’t afford not to hire an attorney to help with trustee removal. The trustee in question has obviously led you to believe that they are incapable of following through with their obligations so it’s important to address the issue before they inflict any further damage. Pushing a trustee to give up their position as a trustee, however, is not something to be taken likely and if they don’t believe that you have the capability of following through, you stand a chance of that trustee remaining in position. Having an attorney on your side will prove to the trustee in question that you mean business.
Seeking Help with Trust Accounting in St. Petersburg?
Whether you’re asking “how do I get a trustee removed from a trust?” or seeking to set up a trust, Weidner Law can help. Just pick up the phone, dial 727-954-8752 and arrange a consultation for your trust accounting needs today!