How to remove a trustee in Southern Indiana probate court

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2023 | Probate

There are several reasons someone would want to remove a trustee in Southern Indiana. It’s not uncommon for beneficiaries or family members to have disagreements with the person managing the trust.

When these disagreements are left to fester, many people might look to remove the trustee altogether. It’s important to know that you can’t remove a trustee on a whim. There has to be a good reason.

Reasons to remove a trustee

The settlor appoints trustees with the confidence that the trustee will carry out their wishes and follow the trust guidelines. Even if a trustee is appointed with the best of intentions, sometimes it doesn’t happen.

If there’s reason to believe that the trustee isn’t following the trust terms, the beneficiaries or other family members might have a reason to remove the trustee from their position. Other reasons to remove a trustee include:

  • Mismanaging or neglecting trust assets
  • Self-dealing
  • Inability to work with beneficiaries

Self-dealing or mismanaging the trust

Self-dealing refers to when a trustee uses their control over the trust for their own benefit. An example would be taking a cut of whatever is distributed from the fund without permission. If a financial institution is acting as a trustee though, self-dealing is usually a part of the contract.

Mismanagement or neglecting a trust can cause the trust to depreciate. When this happens, the beneficiaries can ask for the trustee to be removed with little difficulty.

Sometimes a trustee can be removed from the trust just due to disagreements on how manage or distribute. There’s also a case for removing the trustee if they don’t work well with or are outright hostile to the beneficiaries. Whatever the reasons for a trustee’s removal, the burden of proof rests with the person asking for the change.