Trustees have an important job, and they are in a position of great trust — which is why there are strict rules placed on their behavior. They have a fiduciary duty to administer the trust correctly and to preserve the assets to the best of their abilities.
What happens, however, when you can’t trust a trustee? Under certain conditions, you may be able to have a trustee removed. It may also be possible to pursue a civil claim over any lost assets.
Is the trustee self-dealing or stealing from the trust?
Trustees get into trouble when they start to see the family trust as their personal piggy bank. They may take “loans” (big or small) from the trust to meet personal or business needs or use funds from the trust to help out a friend.
Another problem you may encounter is a trustee that overcharges for their services — or tries to pass some of their own expenses off as a bill to the trust. You may even find out that some valuable personal property held in the trust has gone missing.
Is the trustee incapable of managing the assets properly?
Some trustees simply are not up to the job. Rather than rely on experts to guide their decisions, they make choices that end up wasting or devaluing the funds in the trust. Maybe they invest willy-nilly on long-shot stocks based on little more than “hunches” about investments, or maybe they simply do not understand what’s expected of them.
When money or items go missing from a trust, that is a big problem. You need experienced legal guidance to figure out what is happening — and what you can do to stop it.