Trust disputes can arise for a variety of reasons, but they are commonly centered on the mishandling of an estate document. In situations where a Trustee breached their fiduciary duties and mishandled the Trust, removal is possible.
Removal of a Trustee is not an easy process; however, it is feasible. While not common, some Trusts include specific provisions that provide beneficiaries of a Trust with the power to remove the designated Trustee. In such situations, if beneficiaries believe a Trustee has not upheld their duties, they can remove them by the procedure set out by the Settlor. However, this is not customary, and it is more likely that the Trustee will have to be removed through the traditional process.
Traditionally, if beneficiaries agree to remove a Trustee, a petition will need to be filed with the probate court. Removal petitions, however, are contingent on a trial. Before the court formally decides to remove a trustee, a trial must be held before the court, and evidence of mishandling will need to be presented. Trials can be a strenuous process given the pace at which courts handle cases. It can take time before a trial can occur, and thus the longer a bad Trustee remains in power. However, there are measures in place to mitigate the detriments that may occur.
Suspension is available to prevent a bad Trustee from further jeopardizing a Trust while removal is pending. For a court to grant a suspension, proper evidence will need to be submitted. The beneficiaries must supply evidence that shows the court that the Trust will suffer major harm at the hands of the Trustee if a suspension is not granted. Evidence that best corroborates this idea is financial records showing the Trustee siphoning money out of the estate, or evidence of Trust assets being lost, like a home facing foreclosure because of the Trustee. Boiled down, it is imperative that the evidence shows strong proof of mishandling.
If you are undergoing an inheritance dispute, please reach out to The Inheritance Recovery Attorneys. Our firm offers free consultations and specializes in trust and will litigation. We are here to help you protect your inheritance and make sure your loved one’s wishes are carried out honestly.