Removing a Trustee from a Family Trust: What You Need to Know

Most grantors of a trust take a lot of time to ruminate over their choice of trustee. Given the weight of a trustee's responsibilities, rushing the choice is never a good idea. Even so, after taking a significant amount of time, a grantor may still not settle on the correct choice. Some trustees are irresponsible with their duties or exploit their job. They may conflict with the beneficiaries on other issues too.

Most of the time, beneficiaries can get rid of a trustee if they aren't doing their job. Still, beneficiaries are often required to demonstrate that the specific conditions that warrant removal have been met. A Texas wills and trusts legal attorney can help you through the removal process.

Who Can Remove a Trustee?

For the most part, a trust spells out the conditions under which it is suitable to remove a trustee. The trust may also lay out the steps you need to take to remove the trustee. Even if the trust contains no information on the removal conditions or process, there are other ways to remove a trustee. Here are the actors who can remove a trustee:

- The creator of the trust (grantor)

- Beneficiaries

- The trustee (they can choose to leave themselves)

- Probate courts

- Co-trustees

Conditions for Removal

Trustees have to adhere to state laws and their duties as laid out in the trust. Their duties vary with the trust, but they generally involve being cautious with money, and faithful to the trust and its beneficiaries. If a trustee breaks a beneficiary's trust or doesn't meet their obligations, they can be terminated from their role. In Texas, a trustee can be removed for:

- Violating the terms of the trust

- Illegally transacting with trust property

- Friction between the beneficiaries and trustee

- Incapacity

Removing the Trustee

You can typically consult the trust document to figure out what steps you need to take to remove a trustee. If the document is silent on the removal of a trustee, you'll need to consult the probate court to assist you with this issue. You can also sue the trustee for mismanaging the trust’s assets. If they illegally transact with those assets, you can recover them and place them back in the trust.

If you’re looking for a probate attorney to help you with your trustee issues, contact us at Mike Massey Law. We provide wills, trusts, and probate attorneys in Houston, Harris County, Travis, and Austin, TX.

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Mike Massey JD, MBA, MPA just might be the 195th most interesting person in Texas. He has 4 college degrees and he's working on a 5th:  BBS Accounting; MPA Master's in Professional Accounting; JD Law Degree; MBA Master's in Business Administration; BBS in Biblical Studies (in progress).

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