April 11th, 2018
The Court will strive to keep the person named by the deceased in the Will as Estate Trustee. The deceased had chosen that individual to administer their estate and the Court will try to respect that choice.
However, there are situations in which the Court will agree, upon request, to remove the person named as the Estate Trustee to ensure the proper administration of the Estate. The welfare of the beneficiaries is the overriding concern for the Court.
For example, if the relationship between the Estate Trustee and the beneficiaries is so hostile that it becomes impossible for the Estate Trustee to properly administer the Estate, then the Court might be willing to remove the Estate Trustee so that the Estate can be properly administered. Alternatively, by example, if there is in-fighting between two or more named Estate Trustees to the point that it raises concern about the ability of the Estate Trustees to properly administer the Estate, the Court may agree to remove one or all of the named Trustees.
Another situation that often arises is where the named Estate Trustee is in position of conflict and therefore should be removed. If the Estate Trustee is suing the Estate for dependent’s support, or the Estate Trustee owes to the Estate money that they are not willing to repay, or the Estate Trustee held assets jointly with the deceased and there are issues of whether those assets should fall within the Estate, then they would be in a conflict with administering the Estate and would be removed.
In each case, the Court will require clear evidence that the removal is necessary before it will consider removing an Estate Trustee as the Court will not lightly interfere with the deceased’s choice. Only when it is necessary to protect and ensure the proper administration of the Estate, will the Court remove the named Estate Trustee.
Contact a lawyer if you cannot get along with an Estate Trustee or are otherwise concerned about how an Estate is being administered to discuss your options.