Grounds for Removing a Florida Trustee

Sat 05th Aug, 2023 Estate Planning

Trusts are a powerful tool for estate planning, offering a way to safeguard and distribute assets according to your wishes. However, situations may arise where the trustee of an irrevocable trust in Florida is no longer the right fit for the role. Whether due to breach of fiduciary duty, conflicts of interest, mismanagement of assets, or other reasons, beneficiaries or interested parties may seek to remove a trustee. In this article, we’ll delve into the grounds for removing a Florida trustee.

Removing a Florida Trustee for Breach of Fiduciary Duty

One of the primary responsibilities of a trustee is to act in the best interests of the trust’s beneficiaries. If a trustee fails to fulfill this duty by engaging in actions that go against the beneficiaries’ welfare, such as self-dealing or mismanagement of assets, beneficiaries have valid grounds for seeking removal. Courts take breaches of fiduciary duty seriously and may consider removing the trustee in such cases.

Incapacity or Unavailability

Life is unpredictable, and circumstances can change. If a trustee becomes incapacitated, unable to fulfill their duties, or simply unavailable, it can hinder the effective administration of the trust. In such instances, beneficiaries may have valid reasons removing the Florida trustee to ensure the trust’s proper management.

Conflict of Interest

Trustees must be impartial and act solely in the beneficiaries’ interests. When a trustee has a conflict of interest that compromises their ability to make impartial decisions, beneficiaries can seek removal. This conflict might arise from personal relationships, business interests, or other factors that interfere with their fiduciary duties.

Mismanagement of Trust Assets

A trustee is responsible for managing and investing trust assets prudently. If a trustee makes poor investment choices, mismanages assets, or fails to adhere to the terms of the trust, beneficiaries may have grounds for removal. Mismanagement that threatens the trust’s financial well-being can be a compelling reason for seeking a new trustee.

Failure to Distribute Trust Assets

The timely and appropriate distribution of trust assets to beneficiaries is a core duty of the trustee. If a trustee fails to distribute assets as outlined in the trust’s terms or required by Florida law, beneficiaries can rightfully pursue the removal of the trustee. Failure to distribute assets can impede beneficiaries from receiving what they are entitled to.

Substantial Change in Circumstances

Over time, circumstances can evolve, impacting the dynamics of the trust and its administration. If significant changes occur that necessitate the removal of the trustee for the beneficiaries’ best interests, this can serve as a valid ground for seeking removal. Such changes might include shifts in financial markets, family dynamics, or the law.

Agreement Among Beneficiaries

In some situations, all beneficiaries of the trust may unanimously agree that the trustee should be removed. This consensus can be a compelling factor in seeking removal, as it demonstrates a collective belief that a change in trustee is in the best interests of the trust and its beneficiaries.


Removing a Florida trustee is a complex legal process that requires careful consideration and adherence to proper legal procedures. If you believe there are valid grounds for the removal of a trustee, contact an attorney at Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene to discuss the details.