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Dealing with an incompetent trustee

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2023 | Estate Litigation |

When creating a trust, the grantor must carefully choose a person capable of handling and maintaining the trust assets as their trustee. Trustees carry essential duties to ensure protection over the trust assets and uphold the beneficiaries’ rights. But what if it turns out that the appointed trustee lacks the skills to adequately perform their responsibilities?

Uncovering the trustee’s incompetence

It is possible that at the time the grantor created the trust, they believed in the false competence of their appointed trustee. Another possible scenario is that the trustee, who was originally competent, suffers from an injury or illness, leaving them incapable of carrying out their duties.

Initiating trust litigation

If there is suspicion that the trustee is unqualified to administer the trust, an interested person may file a petition to remove the trustee from their position. The following have the power to petition the trustee’s removal:

  • The probate court
  • The grantor
  • A co-trustee or a successor trustee
  • A beneficiary
  • Any person with explicit authority under the trust terms

On top of the removal, the court will also likely process the trustee’s replacement if there is no other co-trustee or successor trustee. When choosing the new trustee, the court will consider multiple factors, including competence to manage the trust, loyalty and impartiality.

Decide your next step and avoid complications

Having an incompetent person manage the trust will result in serious complications. It can cause serious damage to the trust assets as well as the rights of the beneficiaries. If you suspect or already have evidence to prove a trustee’s incompetence, you may consult a trust litigation expert to help you better understand the technical aspects of trusts and decide your next move.