A trustee is a qualified person or agent (such as a bank) who is chosen by the deceased or the court to manage a trust after someone’s death. Being appointed as a trustee is a legal responsibility that varies depending on the assets and liabilities of an estate. The trustee is obligated to work on behalf of the trust’s beneficiaries. The duties of a trustee vary by state, but in general, a trustee’s duty include:
• Administer the terms of the trust
• File required paperwork including tax returns
• Communicate with the beneficiaries of the estate
• File an accounting of their activities to the court
• Pay or defend any debts and charges
• Maintain the confidentiality of the estate terms and beneficiaries
The state of Illinois requires that the trustee exercise reasonable care, skill and caution in managing trust assets. If you as a beneficiary feel the trustee is not performing their duties, you may petition to have the trustee removed.
If you are the beneficiary, settlor, or co-trustee of an estate and you feel the trustee is not working in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the trust, state law may give beneficiaries the right to remove and replace trustees. Under the Uniform Trust Code which Illinois adopted in 2020, the beneficiaries must prove malfeasance or incompetence on the part of the trustee.
According to the UTC, a breakdown in communication between trustees and beneficiaries is also cause for the beneficiaries to have the trustee removed in court and replaced by a successor.
An experienced trusts and estate litigation attorney can review your case and advice you on the best course of action in your situation.
Learn More: When Estate Litigation Becomes Necessary
If you believe the trustee of an estate that you have an interest in is not acting in the best interests of the estate, or the estate proceedings are tainted in some way; or if someone in your family is challenging the terms of a will, trust, or other estate documents, it may be wise to consult an experienced estate litigation attorney to find out how to protect your rights and your interests. To schedule a consultation with the Estate and Probate Legal Group, call us at 630-864-5835.
AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties