New York - It is not uncommon for individuals to be upset at their trustees or just plain dislike them. Perhaps the trustee has raised fees, held back distributions or is not investing the trust's assets appropriately.
There are things you can do if a trustee - whether it is a financial institutes, a trust company of an individual has failed to fulfill the terms of the trust. We recommend the following:
Read the trust to determine if it has a "trust removal" clause. The burden to remove a trustee is generally on the beneficiary so make sure that you have you facts documented.
Look for an ancillary-fee agreement which allows beneficiaries to remove trustees if they raise fees without the consent of the beneficiaries and without justified cost.
Ask. Although it may sound too good to be true, it sometimes works. This may include writing letters to financial institutions CEO's, the comptroller of the currency, the state banking commission and local news reporters.
Consider paying the trustee to leave. Generally - financial institutions and individuals do not want to pay in a situation that is uncomfortable. Some banks will take an additional 1% fee to walk away.
On a last resort - we recommend contacting an attorney in your state.
An independent Fee-Only financial adviser can help you review your existing trustee's performance and determine what if any steps you can take.
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