The role of a trustee or the person who administers a trust that you set up is to carry out your wishes as per your instructions both while you’re alive and then once you pass away.
There are instances in which trustees fail to uphold their fiduciary obligations, which may warrant their removal from their role.
When might you find it appropriate to remove a trustee?
Various circumstances may necessitate your removing a trustee from their role. One of the more common reasons for doing so is if the appointee fails to abide by your instructions.
Another big reason you may want to petition a judge to remove them from their role is their faiurel to uphold their fiduciary duty. A trustee must act in your beneficiaries’ best interests, not their own.
They must manage your assets in a fiscally responsible way. You may have a valid reason to request a trustee’s removal if their negligence results in the trust losing value, for example. Self-dealing is a breach of their fiduciary responsibility and can result in their removal as well.
A third common reason you may feel the need to remove a trustee is if you or your beneficiaries cannot get along with them. It’s not uncommon for owners of trusts or beneficiaries to request a judge remove the trustee because the trustee and beneficiaries have conflicting perspectives about the distribution of assets contained within the trust.
What you should do if you’re considering removing a trustee
One common misconception that both trust owners and beneficiaries have is that they have the power to remove a trustee from their role for any reason and whenever they like. That’s not the case. Any party wishing to petition a judge for the trustee’s removal must provide them with a valid reason for doing so. Even then, it’s the judge’s discretion whether it happens or the petition is denied.
A high-asset wills and trusts attorney here in Houston will want to know more about the concerns you have with your trustee before advising you of whether Texas law may allow you to remove them from their role.