Sometimes, bad things happen, relationships sour, and trustees need to be removed from trusts. No matter what reason you have for taking this kind of action, you need to ensure that the situation is dealt with swiftly, effectively, and amicably. That way, everybody’s needs will be met and compensated for, and you’ll avoid making the situation worse than it already is as a result.
Removing a trustee is a highly complex matter. If the wrong approach is taken or if certain requirements aren’t met, disputes can arise and make it all-but-impossible for this kind of fiduciary action to take place. When facing this task, then, you’re going to need to know what you’re doing…
Here are three steps you must take when seeking to remove a trustee:
Make sure you have legal grounds of removal
You can’t remove a trustee if you don’t have the grounds to do so. This means that you’re going to need to prove the severity of the situation before you go ahead and start this venture — no, a little tiff between you and your fellow trustee does not suffice!
Legal grounds to remove a trustee generally include:
- The violation of trust agreements and requirements.
- The mismanagement of assets, whether this is done intentionally or completely by accident.
- Fraudulent behavior, such as signature forgery, having taken place.
- The purchasing of assets to benefit oneself, especially if the market value of the asset is not met
- Excessive fees having been charged.
- The mental capacity or financial insolvency of the trustee forcing them to make risky investments with regards to the assets.
Working knowledge of trust law isn’t going to suffice in this instance — as stated, this is highly complex fiduciary matter, so you’re going to need to partner up with someone who is deemed to be an expert in this field. Fortunately, there are plenty of solicitors out there that can offer you the exact type of assistance you need in this instance. The experts found at the-inheritance-experts.co.uk, for example, will be able to query the value of your assets on your behalf, guide you with regards to your duties and responsibilities as a trustee, and clarify the structure of the trust and de-jargon any official documentation you face with regards to it.
Petition for court
Once you have your grounds for removal in place and your specialist lawyer by your side, you then need to petition for court.
At this point, you really need your evidence at hand — it’s your job to aid the judge and jury in their fiduciary duty, not make it harder for them. What’s more, at this stage you’re also going to need an accountant by your side to ensure that your personal finances do not take a hit as a result of you taking your fellow trustee to court. Should you ever have no choice but to remove a trustee from a trust you share together, you have no qualms in doing so. At the end of the day, if they are putting your finances at risk, you need to take action. When you do, just remember all that you have come across above.