When someone creates a trust, they also pick a trustee. This person is in charge of carrying out the actions indicated by the trust, but they are not the person who benefits from it.
For instance, maybe the trust is supposed to be used for a college student’s expenses. Obviously, the student can’t have control over the trust or they could just ignore the rules. A third party will operate it instead, paying out the money to cover the student’s expenses.
Unfortunately, a trustee may need to be removed if they do not use that power properly. Some reasons that this happens include:
- The trustee mismanages the funds
- The trustee neglects their duties
- The trustee ignores the terms and/or fails to comply with them
- The beneficiary has good cause to ask the court to remove the trustee
- The trustee is abusing the trust in a manner that benefits themselves
- The beneficiary and the trustee are not on good terms and may even be hostile toward one another
In some cases, the issues are more a lack of proper execution than anything else, such as a trustee who does not pay a student’s tuition on time. In other cases, the trustee’s actions are much more deliberate and detrimental, such as a trustee who takes money out of the trust and uses it for themselves.
No matter what happens, it’s very important for those involved to understand the legal options they have. They may be able to get the trustee removed to ensure that the goals of the estate plan are still met.