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The designation of a trustee is not set in stone and there are several circumstances under which a trustee may choose to resign or be removed. An individual who wishes to resign his or her role as a trust’s trustee, must follow the guidelines set forth in California’s trust laws.

Under state law, there are several means by which a trustee can legally resign which include:

  1. The trustee no longer wants to serve
  2. With the consent of the interested parties
  3. By court order

A trustee who wishes to resign, but fails to follow the proper procedures, is still legally responsible for the management, investment and disbursement of trust assets and liable for any legal actions related to breaches of fiduciary duties.

Also under state law, there are several reasons to remove an unsuccessful trustee who refuses to resign, all of which require a court order, the most common of which include:

  1. Breach of one or more fiduciary duties
  2. Self-dealing
  3. Outright theft of trust assets

The Flanigan Law Group can assist trustees who wish to resign to ensure that a resignation is in accordance with California law and legally binding as well as remove a trustee who is failing to faithfully perform his/her fiduciary duties.

Appointment of a Successor Trustee

Once a resignation is completed, a new trustee must be appointed. Many trusts include provisions related to the appointment of a successor trustee. In cases where a trust does not name a successor trustee, beneficiaries can often appoint an appropriate party to serve as professional fiduciary or trust company or the courts may intervene to appoint a trustee.

The laws that dictate trusts and a trustee’s fiduciary duties, resignation requirements and appointment procedures are complex. What’s more, a trustee who fails to abide by these laws can be held personally and legally liable for any financial losses or fiduciary breaches that occur.

If you are a trustee who needs assistance fulfilling your fiduciary duties or who wishes to resign from a trustee role or a beneficiary who has cause to believe that the trustee has performed improperly, call our Irvine law office today at 800-732-2413 or contact us online.