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When can you remove a trustee from a trust?

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2022 | Estate & Trust Litigation |

When your loved one named a trustee to manage the assets in the trust that was designed to benefit you, they picked someone they believed was both honorable and capable of doing the job.

Were their hopes misplaced? It happens. Sometimes, for example, a family member or friend is chosen because the person funding the trust is close to them. They fail to take into account everything from the fact that some people just aren’t as financially savvy as others to the problems that personality conflicts between the trustee and the beneficiary can cause.

Can you petition the court to have a trustee removed if they’re unwilling to step down? Quite possibly. Here’s what you should know:

You have to convince the court of a suitable reason to act

It’s not impossible to have a trustee removed, but you do need to present the court with good cause. In Colorado, a trustee can generally be removed from their position when:

  • The trustee has seriously breached the fiduciary trust placed in them, such as through self-dealing or refusal to abide by the terms of the trust
  • There are co-trustees and they are uncooperative with each other to the point that it frustrates the trust’s purposes
  • There’s been some substantial change in circumstances that makes the court believe that removal is in the best interests of all the beneficiaries and won’t thwart the purposes of the trust


You may, for example, need to remove a trustee who has become incapacitated through illness or injury – or you may need to remove a trustee who simply doesn’t understand how to manage the funds in the trust properly and has wasted money through bad investments.

Battling for your rights when you’re the beneficiary of a trust that isn’t being properly managed can be a complicated process. Learning more about your legal options can help you decide what steps to take first.