What can be done if a co-trustee is dragging out the distribution of an estate?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can be done if a co-trustee is dragging out the distribution of an estate?

My mother died 2 years ago. One of my brothers is a trustee for my side of the family and one of her husbands’ son’s is trustee for his side of the family. Both my mother and her husband had a simple Will and both lived together.The husband’s family has dragged things out to no end. Is it possible that one of my side of the family can file a breach of trust suit against them?

Asked on December 10, 2015 under Estate Planning, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a beneficiary of a trust, or a co-trustee (like yourself) can bring a legal action in chancery court to compel an "accounting" of the other trustee's stewardship of the trust. The court can look at how the other trustee has been managing the trust and at any expenses/payments/disbursements taken from the trust, and can do any/all of: removing the other trustee; ordering certain actions to be done (e.g. certain investments, or certain distributions, or divesting/selling certain investments, etc.--even ordering the dissolution of the trust); ordering the other trustee to repay or return any amounts improperly taken. A lawyer is necessary for such an action; you should speak with an attorney about your concerns.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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