Belleville: 618-234-9800 | Edwardsville: 618-656-2244 | ST. LOUIS: 314-421-2325

By: Laura E. Schrick

Often families elect to use trusts in their estate planning. This means that when a family member dies, a trustee selected by the deceased will be tasked with administering the trust and distributing trust assets. In many instances, this arrangement works well. However, sometimes the Trustee fails to perform their obligations or is just plain untrustworthy.

When a Trustee engages in these extraordinary acts, beneficiaries may be entitled to financial damages for the Trustee’s breaches. Will and Trust Contests: Considerations Before Deciding to Litigate. There may also be a basis to petition the court to remove the Trustee and replace them with someone else. Ultimately the decision to remove a Trustee rests in the discretion of the judge; however, circumstances that could support Trustee removal may be found in the plain language of the Trust or under state law. Examples of bases for removal under Illinois law include:

-a serious breach of trust (such as misuse of trust funds or trust assets)

-unfitness, unwillingness or persistent failure to administer the trust effectively such that removal serves the best interest of the trust and the beneficiaries

-a lack of cooperation among co-trustees that substantially impairs trust administration

-a substantial change in circumstances from what existed when the deceased selected the trustee

-all beneficiaries agree that the trustee should be removed, and the court agrees that removal is in the beneficiaries’ best interest and not inconsistent with a material purpose of the trust.

The lawyers at Mathis, Marifian & Richter, Ltd. are experienced in resolving disputes between trustees and beneficiaries, including in bringing and defending against petitions to remove trustee. Please contact them at (618) 234-9800 to discuss your case.

Professional Services Disclaimer: Please note that the information presented here is as an educational service, and while it contains information about legal issues, it is not legal advice. No warranty is made regarding the applicability of the information presented to a particular client situation, and the information set forth is not a substitute for original legal research, analysis and drafting for a particular client situation.