When you’re developing your estate plan, choosing an executor to manage your estate and trustees to manage your trusts after you’re gone are among the most important decisions you’ll make. If you’re a family member or other beneficiary of a will or trust, you’ll have to depend on these people to carry out their duties honestly and responsibly.
If you are counting on the assets in a trust to support you, you’re going to have to deal with the trustee. But what if you don’t think that person is carrying out the wishes of your loved one as they intended? Can you have the trustee removed?
You may be able to, but it might not be easy. You will have to prove to the court that the reasons for removal of the trustee are justified.
What does Ohio law say?
Under Ohio law, a beneficiary can ask the court to remove a trustee (or a judge can do it on their own) if a trustee:
- Commits a serious breach of trust
- Can’t cooperate with co-trustees and causing the trust not to be properly administered
- Is unwilling or unable to administer the trust effectively
Each state has its own probate statutes that address this matter and protect the trust, its assets by allowing for the removal of trustees based on “good cause.”
Seeking to remove a trustee can be a long, combative process that could end up taking money from the estate. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done in some cases. Too often, people choose trustees and other administrators based on personal reasons rather than on their qualifications to handle the responsibilities. In some cases, a trust grantor may be pressured to put them in charge of a trust by the would-be trustee’s own selfish or unscrupulous motives.
If you’re considering removing a trustee, talk with an experienced estate planning attorney who can provide valuable guidance. They can also support you if you have a valid case for moving forward with the action.