What Happens if My Trustee Fails to Follow the Terms of My Trust?

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Family member as trustee

What Would Happen if My Trustee Doesn’t Carry Out Their Duties?

If the trustee still will not comply, the court could hold him in contempt. If they continues to refuse to comply, the court may also remove them from his position. During an estate administration, a trustee’s failure to comply with the trust terms is just one reason that beneficiaries may find themselves in court.

A Trustee is required to abide by the terms of a trust. If they fails to do so, a beneficiary of the trust is not without recourse. One of the benefits of naming co-trustees is that they tend to hold one another accountable. In addition, most trusts will provide a way for the beneficiaries to remove a Trustee, and replace them with the next successor trustee on the list. If no specific provision is made for replacement, a beneficiary may generally petition the Probate Court, and the Probate Court may review their the actions.

Trustees play an important role in overseeing and managing a trust, and they must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. They are responsible for following the instructions of a trust and properly distributing assets to the beneficiaries. If they fail to follow through on their responsibilities, they can be held liable for fiduciary breaches.

Actions to Take Against a Trustee

If your named trustee has breached their fiduciary duty, a beneficiary has several options:

  • Contact an attorney to help communicate with the trustee. This can involve requesting a trust accounting and distribution through your attorney. The lawyer can also advise on expectations and help resolve disputes with the them.
  • File a petition for trust accounting and distribution. This is done through the court, and requires that the trustee provide full accounting and documentation of the financial information.
  • Petition the court to suspend and remove the trustee. This will likely require a trial where the beneficiaries will need to present evidence on why removal is necessary.

Trust administration can be complex and confusing. It is recommended that trustees work with an experienced attorney to help guide them through the trust administration process to help minimize and avoid disputes or miscommunication with beneficiaries.

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