California Trustee Removal Attorney

If You Have Trustee Problems, a Trustee Attorney Can Help

Beneficiaries who have been named in a trust or will typically put a great deal of faith in the fiduciary, or trustee. In most cases, trustees operate faithfully. However, when a trustee breaches his or her duties, they can be removed by a court.

At The Legacy Lawyers, our trustee removal attorneys serve beneficiaries that have been mistreated by fiduciaries and are therefore seeking grounds for removal of the fiduciary. When appropriate, we will petition the court for removal of a trustee who has breached their duties. Our goal is to protect beneficiaries’ interests, and we fight hard to ensure that our clients’ voices are heard and they receive their maximum inheritance.

Why Trustees Are Removed

A trustee who has been occasionally late in sending out statements to beneficiaries will probably not be removed by a court from the position. On the other hand, a trustee who is acting counter to the trust’s intentions can be removed and replaced.

What are some situations when a court will agree to remove and place a trustee under California probate laws?

  • The trustee is not acting in accordance with the best interest of the trust. For instance, the trustee may be paying his or her family member out of the trust, thereby reducing the amount of money in the trust. 
  • The trustee has violated the duties of a fiduciary as outlined by California state law. The laws are very clear as to what standards the fiduciary must meet. 
  • Several trustees have been named and are not working in conjunction with one another. This is causing friction within the estate, not to mention non-cooperation. The trust assets may even be in jeopardy because they are not administering the trust as planned.
  • The trustee has become incapacitated and should no longer be in the position. For instance, a trustee who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is under nursing home care may be replaced. After all, he or she can no longer successfully manage the trust.
  • The trustee is running up excessive expenses that appear to be out of line for the terms of the trust. Again, this could be deliberate or neglectful mismanagement of funds.

Just as every trust is uniquely written, every beneficiary’s claims involving trustee problems are bound to be different. Our team at The Legacy Lawyers has the long-term experience to analyze and discuss any trustee removal circumstance or concern. Not only can we help beneficiaries identify their core issues, we work hard to recover stolen, wasted and misappropriated assets.

What Makes a Bad Trustee?

Trustees are not created equal. The good ones administer trusts seamlessly, transparently and quickly. They embrace their fiduciary duties and obligations, putting beneficiary interests above their own—even if they are one of the beneficiaries. They bring peace to the entire trust administration process. Many of them retain a trustee attorney to help make sure they are following trust administration rules.

On the other hand, bad trustees withhold copies of the trust, play hide the ball with asset information, cut off communication, and bully beneficiaries into submitting to their will.

They act like they own the trust assets, treating beneficiaries poorly for wanting information and their full share of the proceeds. They also act like they are doing everyone a favor by administering the trust. We refer to them as renegade trustees. They are easy to spot, just look for the big shiny badges. They don’t really have badges, but if you run into a renegade trustee you will understand that comment.

Renegade trustees burn through trust assets, and threaten to spend more money on expensive trust attorneys if anyone questions their behavior. They typically ignore their duties and responsibilities under the probate code and operate by their own rules.

The Process of Removing a Trustee

Courts will not remove a trustee based on complaints alone. Instead, judges expect to see significant documentation and evidence in the form of spreadsheets, depositions, bank statements, or other items. Our trustee removal attorneys can amass this documentation on behalf of clients as part of the attorney-client relationship. That way, the client does not carry the burden of unearthing the proof themselves. With documentation in hand, the attorney can then petition the court to remove the fiduciary and appoint a successor trustee. 

Although the process to place a trustee requires very specific steps, The Legacy Lawyers have the background to successfully navigate the complexity of the legal system. Our goal is to follow the letter of the law as thoroughly as we can. That way, you not only save money thanks to our efficiency, but you avoid costly missteps.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Remove a Trustee?

A trustee removal attorney is needed for this process for a number of reasons:

  • The trustee removal process is complex. There are specific rules that your attorney must be familiar with which can be confusing if you don’t have legal experience.
  •  Failure to follow the legal rules can easily harm your case.
  • A trustee rarely goes quietly when confronted with removal from a trust. This can cause further confrontation and disputes that you would want support from your attorney.
  • An attorney will confront the trustee in question to ensure they know that you are serious in seeking their removal.
  • Hiring an attorney for trustee removal will also ensure that you have an experienced trustee removal attorney on your side if a judge calls for a court hearing. 

If you are the beneficiary of a trust that a renegade trustee is administering, there is some good news. You have rights. If they violate those rights, renegade trustees can be removed. Even if there’s a no-contest clause, a trust attorney will seek the removal of renegade trustees because under California law those requests are not considered trust contests. Our trustee attorneys have removed several renegade trustees, most commonly for breaching their fiduciary duties, but they can also be removed for any just and reasonable cause.

What to Expect From an Initial Consultation With a Trustee Removal Attorney

When you schedule your initial consultation with The Legacy Lawyers to speak with a trustee removal attorney, you can expect the conversation to dive into your rights and your particular will or trust. We will verify known facts, unpack important facts and circumstances and help you establish goals. If we feel that your trust fiduciary has violated laws, we will make recommendations based on your specific case and situation.

Remember that all beneficiaries to wills and trusts have rights. As trustee removal attorneys, our objective is to make certain your trustee follows the letter of the law and acts in the best interests of the trust. Even if there is a no-contest clause, a trust attorney will seek the removal of trustees because under California law those requests are not considered trust contests. Our trustee attorneys have forced courts to replace trustees, most commonly for breaching their fiduciary duties.

Want to talk about your trust and estate litigation concerns? Call The Legacy Lawyers at (800) 840-1998 to arrange an appointment at our offices with any of our litigation attorneys.

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