When creating a trust, one of the most important decisions you make is appointing a trustee to oversee the assets within it and uphold the trust’s terms. This is a great responsibility for any person, and often leads to unanticipated conflicts between the trustee and the trust’s creator or other parties, such as beneficiaries. Trustees enjoy a significant amount of power over a trust, a responsibility that not all individuals can truly handle well.
If you suspect that it is time to replace your trust’s trustee, it is wise to consider this move carefully, especially if the trustee is a personal friend. It is usually good to consult with an experienced estate planning law attorney who understands the nuances of estate planning conflicts.
Professional guidance through your trustee dilemma ensures that you fully consider all your options before removing the trustee, while protecting your rights and priorities if you choose to move forward with the replacement process.
Is the trustee upholding his or her duties?
In broad strokes, most people tend to remove a trustee either for undesirable performance of duties or conflicts with other parties connected to the trust. If you believe that your trustee fails to uphold his or her duties, then it is time to consider removing the trustee.
Often, the complexity of the issues at hand are overwhelming for a trustee, and it is a good idea to appoint another person who is more adept and meeting the challenges that trustees face. It is also possible that the trustee may use his or her power to unethically benefit from the position. In other cases, a trustee may negligently or intentionally mismanage assets. These are all excellent reasons to replace a trustee.
Is the trustee in conflict with another party?
Sometimes human relationships complicate the duties of a trustee. If the trustee allows personal relationship conflicts to affect his or her decisions about the trust, then you or your beneficiaries, or some other related party may suffer.
Trustees often compromise themselves by involving trustee duties with interpersonal conflicts. Not only is this grossly unfair to the other individuals in the conflict, it may complicate your relationships to those individuals as well.
Don’t wait to make a strong decision
Whether you ultimately replace your trustee or not, it is wise to consult a professional before you make any lasting decisions. Not only can an experienced attorney help you understand all your legal options, he or she can protect you from unanticipated consequences of this frequently difficult process.