KPM

Will Revisions Conservation Easement Pot Trust Psychiatric Advance Directive split annuity Estate Planning Terms Living Will Trust Protector LTC Expenses Incentive Trusts Gift Tax Return Family Business Succession Planning Special Needs Trust Elderly Parents In Your Estate Plan Beneficiary Designations Turn Down An Inheritance Power Of Attorney Inter Vivos Securities Laws DAPT College-Age Children Do Need An Estate Plan Estate Planning Documents Annual Gift Tax Exclusion CRT Name A Guardian Power To Remove A Trustee Living Trust Owning Assets Silent & Incentive Trusts Payable-On-Death Accounts Reduce your estate tax Executor Art Collection QTIP Trust portability Life insurance Portability Probate Original Will Estate Planning Estate Plan Estate Planning Estate Planning Asset Protection Strategies

Does Your Trust Provide For The Removal Of A Trustee?

To ensure that a trust operates as intended, it’s critical to appoint a trustee that you can count on to carry out your wishes. But to avoid protracted court battles in the event that the trustee isn’t doing a good job, consider giving your beneficiaries the right to remove and replace a trustee. Without this option, your beneficiaries’ only recourse would be to petition a court to remove the trustee for cause.

Defining “Cause”
The definition of “cause” varies from state to state, but common grounds for removal include:

  • Fraud, mismanagement, or other misconduct
  • A conflict of interest with one or more beneficiaries
  • Legal incapacity
  • Poor health
  • Bankruptcy or insolvency if it would affect the trustee’s ability to manage the trust


Not only is it time-consuming and expensive to go to court, but most courts are hesitant to remove a trustee that was chosen by the trust’s creator. That’s why including a provision in the trust document that allows your beneficiaries to remove a trustee without cause if they’re dissatisfied with their performance can be a good idea. Alternatively, you could authorize your beneficiaries to remove a trustee under specific circumstances outlined in the trust document.

Adding Successor Trustees
If you’re concerned about giving your beneficiaries too much power, you can include a list of successor trustees in the trust document. That way, if the beneficiaries end up removing a trustee, the next person on the list takes over automatically, rather than the beneficiaries choosing a successor.

Alternatively, or, in addition, you could appoint a “trust protector” with the power to remove and replace trustees and to make certain other decisions regarding management of the trust. Contact us for additional information on the role of a trustee.

Related Articles

Talk with the pros

Our CPAs and advisors are a great resource if you’re ready to learn even more.