A trustee is the person who manages and administers trust assets for the trust’s beneficiaries. They have several important responsibilities and if they do not meet these, there may be an option to remove the trustee from their position.
A trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries and to act with integrity, meaning they must manage the assets in the trust with care and according to the terms of the trust. They must also be impartial and treat all beneficiaries equally. A trustee must not act in their own interest.
The trustee must keep accurate transaction records, including income received, expenses paid and beneficiary distributions. They must also keep the beneficiaries informed about the trust’s assets, which is usually done through periodic accounting.
When the trust is terminated, the trustee must distribute any remaining assets according to the trust’s instructions.
Reasons for removal
It may be necessary to remove a trustee if they are not meeting their responsibilities. This may include breaching their fiduciary duty by mismanaging the trust assets or engaging in self-dealing.
The beneficiaries can petition the court to have the trustee removed and should provide evidence of the trustee’s failure to meet their duties. The court will determine whether it is in the best interest of the trust and the beneficiaries to remove the trustee. If it is, the court may appoint a successor trustee.
If beneficiaries need help with this complex process, there is assistance available.