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Removing a trustee from office

If your family has significant assets to protect (such as ownership of a family business), then it may be wise to consider placing those assets in a trust to be managed for the benefit of you and all of the other family heirs. Yet what is to say that whomever is chosen as trustee will be up to the task? Many who have bee parties to trusts in Westminster have come to us here at The Law Firm of Lan Quoc Nguyen & Associates concerned over the actions of the trustees in their cases, and questioning whether or not there is a way to remove someone from such a role. You may be happy to hear that there is. 

Section 15642 of the California Probate Code details the circumstances under which a trustee can be removed from their position. These include: 

  • Committing a breach of the trust
  • Being physically, emotionally or financially unfit to fulfill the role
  • Failing or declining to act to preserve trust properties
  • A transfer of trust property being made to the trustee (and the trustee is not married to the settlor or the instrument authorizing it is not verified by an independent party)
  • Being unable to resist fraud or undue influence 

Cases in which a trustee demands compensation that would be considered excessive under the circumstances may also be grounds for removal. 

You must file a petition with the court outlining the infractions committed by the trustee in order to have them removed (a subsequent hearing might also be required in order for the trustee to answer your allegations). If they are indeed removed, a successor trustee will be appointed by the court or as outlined in the actual trust instrument. More information on working with trustees can be found here on our site. 

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