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When should you replace a trustee?

When you choose a person to serve as a trustee for your estate, you give them a great deal of responsibility and must place trust in them to meet your expectations. Unfortunately, time and unforeseen circumstances may change the nature of your relationship to the trustee, or their behavior may give you reasons to question their judgment.

It is common to feel trapped when your relationship with a trustee deteriorates, but the law provides means for removing and replacing a trustee when you believe the time is right. Protecting your rights and your legacy is a crucial part of creating your escape plan. Make sure to use strong legal resources and guidance as you need them while you make changes to your estate plan in Lake Forest and the individuals involved with it.

Is your trustee complying with your instructions?

One of the most common reasons that a person may wish to replace a trustee is a breakdown between a trust creator's instructions and the trustee's performance. If your trustee simply is not following through on their obligations, or if they willingly violate the terms of your trust, this is generally grounds enough to remove them.

Some trustees simply neglect to pay proper attention to a trust and the estate may begin to suffer the consequences. If your trustee does not attend to the needs of the trust regularly or allows its assets to suffer, this is also solid grounds for dismissal.

Self-dealing and antagonism

Ideally, a person who serves as a trustee takes professional interest in the position while leaving personal matters aside. However, people have a remarkable way of making things personal when it is not necessary.

If you find that you trustee uses their authority for their own enrichment (beyond their compensation for serving as trustee), or if you find that a trustee has an antagonistic relationship with one of your beneficiaries, then you should consider replacing them immediately.

Your trustee must treat all beneficiaries fairly and equitably, and should not enrich themselves unfairly. Violating these boundaries is a strong sign that it is time to remove and replace them.

Your estate and legacy are your own to determine, and this includes the people whom you bring alongside you as you take life's journey. It is always wise to examine the individuals that serve as trustees and maintain options if you find that you need to replace them. By paying close attention to these problem areas, you can build a legacy that represents your wishes and enjoy the peace of mind that a strong estate plan brings.

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Lesser Lutrey Pasquesi & Howe, LLP
191 E. Deerpath Suite 300
Lake Forest, IL 60045

Phone: 847-295-8800
Fax: 847-295-8886
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161 N. Clark Street
Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: 847-295-8800
Fax: 312-523-2001
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