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What to do if a trustee is not following the rules of a trust

If you are the beneficiary to a loved one's trust, there is no doubt that you want the trust to be handled appropriately. While most people choose a trustee to that they believe they can trust, sometimes the has ill intentions or simply does not understand how to be a good trustee. If you notice that a trustee is not following the terms of the trust, it is important to know that you can take action to make sure he or she starts adhering to the terms, or that a new trustee is appointed.

If something seems off about a trustee, the first thing to do is read the terms of the trust carefully. A trustee may be acting correctly, but you were unaware of certain terms of the trust. If he or she is not in compliance with the trust, you should first request a meeting with the trustee to discuss the problem.

If you can't come to a resolution, the trust may explain how to go about removing a trustee. Depending on the trust, it may be easy or quite difficult to do this. If it is difficult to have a trustee removed, it may be time to talk to an attorney. An attorney can review the trust and provide a professional opinion on what to do. If an attorney agrees with your impression of what is going on, you can go to court to either have a judge order the trustee to comply with the terms or have the trustee removed completely. 

As the beneficiary of a trust, you not only want to be able to receive your inheritance, but you also want your loved one's wishes to be upheld. When the appointed trustee fails to do this, you may want to consider these steps. Whether you steer a current trustee back on the right path or replace him or her, you'll know the terms of the trust will be adhered to. 

Source:, "ESTATE PLANNING: Enforcing a trust," Christopher W. Yugo, July 13, 2013

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