Can a Trustee be Removed and Replaced?

A trustee’s role sounds simple in theory – carry out the terms of the trust. While the responsibilities seem straightforward, the person entrusted to carry out the trustor’s wishes may not always act in the best interest of the recipients, causing a rift between parties. Other times, a trustee doesn’t understand the formal legal requirements of being a trustee. In certain situations, it is possible to have a trustee be removed from their duties.


Under which circumstances will a court determine to remove a trustee from a trust?


Probate code 15642 explains a trustee may be removed if:


  1. The trustee has committed a breach of trust


If there is evidence that the trustee has acted in violation of their duties as trustee, a petition may be considered for removal.


  1. The trustee is insolvent or unable to carry out the duties afforded


If the trustee has bad credit and very little personal assets, a trustee may be removed if the court can be convinced there is a risk to the trust’s assets.


If illness or lack of skill prohibits the trustee from acting effectively, removable may be considered. An example is if the trustee no longer has the mental capacity to carry out his or her duties as trustee.


  1. The trustee displays hostile behavior or a lack of cooperation among co-trustees


In some situations, more than one trustee may be named. Lack of cooperation or a bad relationship between the co-trustees could lead to the removal of one or more trustee.


  1. The trustee fails to act


It is the responsibility of the trustee to administer the trust effectively and correctly. Failure to do so may result in their removal.


  1. The trustee’s compensation is excessive


A trustee is to be compensated fairly for their involvement. While a dollar amount is not specifically stated, excessive compensation is grounds for removal.


The court wants to grantor’s intentions be carried out and the right of the beneficiary protected. The trust and probate attorneys at Gokal Law Group can assess your situation to determine the best strategy to remove a bad or incompetent trustee. Abbas Gokal and his team work tirelessly to ensure your case is handled with care and consideration during what can often be a difficult and stressful time. Contact us at 949-753-9100 or contact us here to speak with an attorney about your case.


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