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