Removing a Florida Trustee

Mon 17th Apr, 2023 Estate Planning

The administration of a trust should be efficient, effective, and in accordance with the terms of the trust and the Florida Trust Code. If a trustee fails to properly administer a trust, they can be removed by court order. To determine your rights in regards to removing a Florida trustee, it’s best to consult with a Florida trust attorney. The trust administration lawyers at Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene are available to review your situation and determine if you have a case.

Law on the Removing a Florida Trustee 

Under Florida Statute Sec. 736.0706 titled “(r)removal of a trustee” states that the parties that can request the court to remove a trustee are:

  • The settlor or individual who created the trust
  • A co-trustee 
  • A beneficiary 
  • The trustee themselves 

Upon a request to remove a trustee, the court may do so for the following reasons: 

  • The trustee has engaged in an action that constitutes a serious breach of trust
  • A lack of cooperation among co-trustees “substantially impairs” the trust’s administration 
  • The trustee’s unwillingness, unfitness, or persist failure to effectively administer the trust
  • There has been a substantial change of circumstances
  • Removal has been requested by all qualified beneficiaries 

What is necessary is that the court finds the removal of a Florida trustee is in the best interests of the beneficiaries and in line with the original intent of the trust as established by the trust’s grantor. 

Serious Breach of Trust

A “breach of trust” is when a trustee acts in such a way that the trust’s assets or beneficiaries are harmed due to the trustee’s actions. Examples of a serious breach of trust that could lead to the removal of a trustee include:

  • Failure to adhere to the trust’s terms
  • Failure to adhere to The Florida Trust Code
  • Retaliatory conduct or discord
  • Self-dealing when the trustee is personally enriched by their actions with the trust and its assets
  • Other intentional or negligent wrongful conduct 

Trustees must be just as the term implies, trusted to administer the trust appropriately, and the failure to do so can result in their removal, and even liability for damages. 

Impairing the Administration of the Trust 

Removing a Florida trustee is possible if they are found to be unfit, unwilling, or persistently unable to properly administer a trust. In cases where there are multiple co-trustees, a lack of cooperation can also lead to the removal of trustees. The court’s decision on removing a trustee is based on the intention of the trust and any obstacles that may prevent it from being accurately executed.

Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene Can Help with Removing a Florida Trustee

The probate litigation attorneys at Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene have extensive experience in handling disputes regarding removing a Florida trustee. Contact us at 904-355-0355.