What is the quickest and least expensive way to get a trustee removed for cause?

Asked on November 4, 2015 under Estate Planning, Arizona


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You will need to bring a lawsuit in the probate court requiring that the trustee "account" for her actions. She can be made to document and support all expenditures, etc (i.e. she will need to show where the money is and what she has done with it). If she has violated her "fiduciary duty" and engaged in self-dealing and/or breached the terms of the Trust, she can be removed and be required to repay all amounts that she improperly diverted from the Trust.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The only way to get a trustee removed is through the courts. You can file a legal action demanding an "accounting" of the trustee's actions--i.e. that she account for what she has done and where the money is, and prove that she has acted in accordance with her duty and obligations (e.g. her fiduciary duty as trustee). If she has not, not only can the court remove her, but she can required to repay any/all funds that she improperly took for herself. This action would be brought in chancery court, and is much more complex than, say, filing a small claims case for auto damage or an unpaid bill; you are advised to retain an attorney to help you.

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