When a trust is created, people who establish the trust name themselves as the trustee. Because they know that they won’t be around forever, they appoint someone else as the successor trustee. Often, the successor trustee is the other spouse or parent involved; however, children become the successor trustees when their parents lose mental capacity or pass away.
In some families, everything is divided fairly, and the siblings work together for the good of their parents—administering the trust transparently, seamlessly, and quickly. However, other times things go wrong because of one unscrupulous successor trustee. Generally, things get bad when a successor trustee is given too much power and does not act in the best interest of all trust beneficiaries.
Some warning signs of a dishonest successor trustee include:
- Will refuse to provide copies of the trust
- Does not act according to the trust terms
- Operates by their own rules
- Fails to account for trust assets
- Cannot act right due to mental incapacity
- Pockets trust assets
- Does not communicate
If a successor trustee to your parent’s trust is acting in any of the above ways, you may have a renegade trustee on your hands and most likely have grounds to have this person removed. However, time is of the essence. You can ask the court to remove this trustee due to breach of fiduciary duties.