October 31st, 2022 in
Can a trustee be removed in CA? A trustee traditionally has a significant amount of control over the way a trust is administered. They are tasked with gathering assets, meeting creditor requirements, and distributing assets to heirs. The trustee owes the beneficiaries of the trust a fiduciary duty. That is, it is their responsibility to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries, not necessarily their own opinion. There are some situations in which the trustee does not meet these requirements, and when that happens, it may be necessary to remove the trustee.
Trustee removal in California is possible. In some situations where the trustee is revocable, the settlor, who is the individual who created the trust, has the ability to revoke the trustee. A simple amendment to the trust by the settlor outlining the new trustee is all that it takes. However, if the trust is irrevocable or the settlor has died, it is much more difficult to remove the trustee. This can only be done by the court.
A beneficiary may wish to do this if they do not believe the trustee is acting in good faith, for example. To do so, the beneficiary or other interested party must file a request with the court to remove the trustee. The court will then decide this only after gathering all information available in the case to determine if there is enough to support the beneficiary’s claim. This is a complicated process and one that may require legal strategy to ensure the court fully recognizes your rights. The trustee is given time to respond to such claims.
The court will decide on this information, but the process can take some time. For that reason, it is ideal for the beneficiary or any other interested party to act quickly. Allow our team to offer insight into whether this could be a legal maneuver you are considering.
What Are the Grounds to Remove a Trustee?
The hope is that a trustee is appointed with the ability and desire to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries based on the specific trust guidelines, yet that does not always happen. To file a petition with the court – and to get the desired outcome – the petitioner needs to show that the trustee has failed to breach the duties they set forth. There are many reasons this could occur.
The grounds for the trustee removal must be clear and show that the trustee has breached their duty. This could include commingling personal assets with the trust assets or misappropriation of trust assets in some way. In some situations, there may be claims of colluding with one or other beneficiaries at the risk to other beneficiaries. In some situations, it may be possible to file a claim that the trustee is failing to administer the trust by the terms that are set forth within the trust itself. Another indication that it may be necessary to pursue the removal of the trustee is if there is other evidence of negligence in the management of the trust assets themselves.
Less specifically, to remove a trustee, a person must show that the trustee is, in some way, such as through their conduct, breaching the duties that the trust specifies. This is where it becomes difficult. To have a trustee removed, you must be able to show that the person is acting against what the trust was set out for or what the rules of the trust are. That can be quite difficult to do without legal insight and experience.
When a trustee breaches duties of any type, reach out to an attorney who can guide you through this legal process. This may include gathering information about the situation, working to understand what is actually occurring, and offering legal solutions to you. Our legal team at Steburg Law Firm can provide you with fair, clear insight into what your legal rights may be.
How the Steburg Law Firm, P.C. Will Help
Removing a trustee is a complicated process and does not typically occur until and unless the judge can see that the person is acting against the trust’s intention. Allow our team to help you determine if that is the case. Your privacy is protected when you reach out to us. Allow our team to help you show what changes may be necessary if you think any mismanagement or other steps are being taken that could put your rights at risk. Contact us today to set up a consultation to discuss your case with a highly experienced attorney.