Your family has always been careful about money, which is why your parents or grandparents set up a trust to provide for you and your siblings well into the future.
So, what’s the problem? Well, you don’t trust the trustee. You feel like you have good reason to question their behavior or motives, and you definitely don’t think they should be in charge of the family trust.
Who can ask the court to remove a trustee?
In California, trustees can be removed according to the rules outlined within the trust itself or by the court. Removal of the trustee may also occur after the court approves the petition submitted by the trust’s settlor, a beneficiary of the trust or a co-trustee.
When can you ask the court to remove a trustee?
Every trustee owes a certain fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the trust and the trust’s beneficiaries. They’re expected to be loyal to the terms of the trust and act impartially when they carry out their duties. They’re also expected to execute considerable care over the assets contained in the trust as they make investments, pay debts and engage in other financial transactions.
Essentially, anything that calls into question the trustee’s motives, actions or abilities to do these things can be grounds to remove them from their position. Trustees can be removed because they:
- Are financially insolvent (which draws into question whether they should be trusted to manage someone else’s money)
- Engage in self-dealing, usually by charging excessive compensation for their services
- Are openly hostile or uncooperative with their co-trustee, which makes managing the trust virtually impossible
- Show favoritism to one of the trust’s beneficiaries in some way (such as granting them special privileges or access to funds the others don’t have)
Sometimes, the removal of a trustee needs to occur simply because they’re very poor at their job, and they don’t have the good sense to hire financial advisors and other professionals to help them.
If you suspect that the family’s trustee should be removed, don’t hesitate to learn more about your options. Every day that passes could lead to more complications that you don’t deserve.