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Should you remove the trustee from your trust?

Trusts can be a very valuable part of your family's estate plan. A trust can make sure your property is managed correctly after you have passed away, along with reducing tax expenses and protecting property from creditors. 

A trustee is usually named when creating a trust and many families struggle with this decision. Many people are familiar with appointing a trustee but not many people think about the benefits of removing a trustee from their estate plan. 

Removing a trustee from your trust can be a bit daunting. That is why it is important for individuals and families to become familiar with the different reasons to remove a trustee. 

One of the most common reasons to remove a trustee from a trust is if the trustee does not follow the terms of the trust. The trustee has many responsibilities when managing the trust, including fulfilling the terms of the trust. The beneficiaries of the trust can petition for the trustee to be removed if he or she is not adhering to the terms of the trust.

Another common reason a trustee is removed is if he or she improperly manages the funds of the trust. A trustee can be removed if he or she breaches their fiduciary duty to manage the trust assets. 

A trustee can also be removed if the beneficiaries believe there is good cause for removal. Beneficiaries need to provide rational reasons to the court on why the trustee should be removed. If the trustee and beneficiaries become hostile or are not able to communicate with each other, the beneficiaries can petition to have the trustee removed. 

Trustees are responsible for your family's assets and mismanagement can lead to very serious consequences for the beneficiaries. Removing a trustee from a trust requires beneficiaries to petition a probate court and attend a hearing. This process can be complex so it may be best to contact an estate planning attorney when thinking about removing a trustee from your family's trust.

Source: FindLaw, "5 Reasons to Remove a Trustee From Your Trust," Brett Snider, Oct. 29, 2013

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