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How a Trust Litigation Lawyer Can Help You…

Published on December 12th, 2020

Removing an Executor or Trustee

Removing an executor, trustee, or agent of a trust or an estate plan can be emotionally exhausting and considerably challenging. If you are involved in a set of circumstances that demands action to be taken, then you should act swiftly, and with the assistance of an estate and trust litigation lawyer.

Situations like these tend to involve close family members and anyone named in the trust. Not only can it warrant a broad number of obstacles to overcome, but there will likely be heated disagreements between beneficiaries. A trust litigation lawyer can work with all parties to ensure the decedent’s wishes are carried out, but to also ensure the interests of the beneficiaries are considered at all times. If you believe a trust is being mismanaged in any way, we may petition the court to have the trustee or trust agent removed as quickly as possible. 

How A Trustee Can Be Removed

When a person dies, and they have left a trust, the trustee will need to be named. This person will have many duties and must adhere to them at all times. Sometimes, the responsibility will be too much for the trustee, or they purposely engage in actions that go against the interests of the beneficiaries. In any case, when the trust is mismanaged, the trustee might need to be removed. 

Duties of the trustee may include:

  • Notifying creditors about the death
  • Paying off state or federal taxes
  • Gathering all assets that belong to the estate
  • Securing the assets until their distribution
  • Paying off any debts
  • Distributing the assets according to the trust
  • Managing and maintaining the records related to the trust
  • And much more…

What are the Grounds to Remove a Trustee from a Trust?

It is possible for a trustee to make a mistake that was never intended. In this case, as long as the mistake did not continue, the court might not see it as enough grounds to have them removed. Likewise, a trustee cannot generally be removed because a beneficiary doesn’t like them. The only way that a trustee can be removed from a trust is when one of the following applies:

  • The trustee has been admitted to a mental health facility
  • The trustee has developed an addiction 
  • The trustee has been incarcerated
  • The trustee has a disability that is affecting their judgment
  • The trustee is mismanaging the estate
  • The trustee is representing the estate under false pretenses
  • The trustee is conducting themselves in a way that is causing harm to others
  • The trustee is not adhering to their duties

Removing a trustee is often a lengthy process that must be overseen by an attorney. A trust lawyer  may be able to help you with understanding the process and answering your questions. It will be up to a judge as to whether or not the trustee can be removed, however, if you believe a trust is being mishandled in any way, and you feel this has taken place because of the actions, or lack of, of the trustee, you should talk to a knowledgeable trust lawyer today.


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