Can I fire my trustee?
We receive numerous inquiries from clients asking, “How can I fire my Trustee?” In Florida, “firing a Trustee” is called a trustee removal action, through which an interested party may seek to remove a trustee of a trust, sometimes for reasons other times for no cause. Florida Trust law contains specific statutes which address the removal of trustees.
According to Florida Statute §736.0706, removal of a trustee may be sought by the settlor, a co-trustee, or any beneficiary. In addition, a court may remove a trustee on its own. Grounds for removal include a serious breach of trust, lack of cooperation among co-trustees, and unfitness, unwillingness, or persistent failure to effectively administer the trust. Any action to remove a trustee on these grounds would be considered a removal “for cause.”
Florida Statute §736.0706, also permits the removal of a trustee without cause at the request of all of the qualified beneficiaries, or upon a showing of substantial change in the circumstances. Removal on these grounds does not require proof of any breach of fiduciary duty, malfeasance or other grounds for removal. It requires only that the removal of the trustee (or firing of the trustee as some like to say) best serves the interests of all beneficiaries, that it not be inconsistent with a material purpose of the trust, and that a suitable co-trustee or successor trustee be available.
So whether your trustee is treating the trust like his own personal checking account, repeatedly failing to provide accountings or reasonable information regarding the assets of your Trust, failing to invest prudently, or any other grounds which could constitute a serious breach of trust, or you just don’t feel the trustee is providing any benefit and a suitable replacement trustee is ready and willing to take over at a lower cost, you as a beneficiary, co-trustee, or settlor, has the ability to seek removal through the Court.