The Trustee of a trust is responsible for administering the terms of the trust, overseeing the day to day activities of the trust, and managing trust assets. A well-chosen Trustee can lead to the success of a trust whereas the wrong choice of Trustee can cause a trust to fail. When can a Trustee of a trust be removed? In a revocable trust the Maker of the trust can remove and replace a Trustee at any time; however, in an irrevocable trust it is not so simple to remove a Trustee. It can be done though under certain circumstances, including:
• Breakdown of communication with beneficiaries – one of the primary duties of a Trustee is to communicate with the beneficiaries on all trust matters. A breakdown in communication, therefore, means the Trustee has failed to live up to that responsibility.
• Failing to abide by the trust terms – unless the terms are illegal, impractical, or unconscionable, a Trustee is legally bound to abide by al the terms in a trust. If the Trustee fails or refuses to abide by any of the terms it may be grounds for removal.
• Good cause – this is a “catch all” category that may be used for other situations that may not be as common but that may be sufficient to convince a judge that trustee should be removed.
The power to remove a Trustee may lie with the beneficiaries of the trust, depending on the terms of the trust agreement. If the beneficiaries were not specifically given the power to remove a Trustee the power to do so usually lies with a judge. In that case, a petition to remove the Trustee must be filed with the appropriate court and the judge must be convinced that it is in the best interest of the trust purpose to remove the Trustee.
If you have additional questions or concerns about removing a Trustee, or your Illinois estate plan in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.