Today I was honored to lead a presentation for a Continuing Legal Education seminar on trustee removal. Along with co-presenters Robert Paine and Hackard Law's own Dave Jones, we delivered a comprehensive breakdown of the reasons for and tactics of removing bad trustees. Under California Probate Code 15642(b), there are nine clear reasons a trustee can be removed from administering a trust. These are the following:
- The trustee has committed a breach of the trust.
- The trustee is insolvent or otherwise unfit to administer the trust.
- Hostility or lack of cooperation among co-trustees impairs the administration of the trust.
- The trustee declines or fails to act.
- The trustee's compensation is excessive under the circumstances.
- Trustee is a "disqualified person" pursuant to Probate Code 21350 or 21380.
- Trustee is substantially unable to manage the trust's financial resources or is otherwise substantially unable to properly execute the duties.
- Trustee is substantially unable to resist fraud or undue influence.
- Other good cause.
In this excerpt I address fraud and undue influence. Many times irresponsible trustees will be involved in activities like substance abuse or financial exploitation (including elder financial abuse). In certain cases one beneficiary will collaborate with the trustee to misappropriate funds and trust assets. It's circumstances like these that call for trustee removal.
Thank you to Robert Paine, Dave Jones and Strafford CLE for providing this opportunity to explain trustee removal in real time.