Can We Remove a Trustee in California?

A trustee has an important legal obligation and numerous roles that must be addressed when appointed to a California estate. However, if beneficiaries have reason to believe that the trustee has violated this fiduciary responsibility, a trustee could be removed from this role.

The trustee has a significant level of power over the trust administration process, including working with creditors, inventorying the assets of the trust and distributing those trust assets to beneficiaries.

It is the responsibility of a California trustee to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries at all times. Sometimes this breach to beneficiaries, however, is so severe that it justifies a California trustee’s removal. A trustee can breach their duties through a variety of different actions, including:

  • Misappropriating assets inside the trust.
  • Negligently managing trust assets.
  • Comingling their personal assets with those assets in the trust.
  • Engaging in activities classified as self-dealing.
  • Colluding with other beneficiaries in which these actions harm the others.
  • Failing to administer the trust through its terms.

An interested party could potentially remove a trustee if it can be shown that these fiduciary duties have been breached and that these actions justify grounds for a removal. A court must get involved to remove the trustee from an irrevocable trust.

If a trust is revocable, the person who created it can amend trust documents to install someone new or revoke the trust. The legal issues involved in removing a California trustee can be complicated. Schedule a consultation with a dedicated attorney in Pasadena to discuss what you should do next.

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