Lessons Learned from In re Peter Val Preda Trusts

The Vermont Supreme Court recently heard the case of In re Peter Val Preda Trusts, which introduced some important estate planning issues that all individuals interested in creating trusts should understand. 


Both the individual who created the trust as well as his wife were deceased. In June 2018, the petitioners requested the Georgia probate division to remove the respondent as the individual family trustee of the trustee and appoint the petitioner’s wife as the respondent’s successor. 


The basis for removing the trustee was that the petitioner claimed the removal would improve how the trust was administered because the petitioner and respondent did not communicate with one another and that the respondent had failed to pay attention to investments of the trust. 


After hearing this case, a civil court refused to interfere in the administration of the estate. The petitioner subsequently appealed the court’s decision on the basis that the court lacked jurisdiction to consider the appeal of the probate division’s dismissal of his petition. 


On review of the facts of the case, the Vermont Supreme Court upheld the civil court’s decision but transferred the appeal and remanded for further proceedings.


Remove a New York Trust Administrator


Deciding exactly who will administer your trust is a complex decision. While many people approach this decision with great care, not everyone unfortunately fails to perform as a trust administrator should. 


No matter if you appoint a financial institution, lawyer, or family friend to administer an estate, you should make sure to include a mechanism to do so if necessary. 


Situations where a Trustee Might Be Removed


There are a number of reasons why a person might decide to remove a trust administrator. In accordance with New York law, the following situations allow a trust administrator to be lawfully removed:


  • The trustee is ineligible or has been disqualified by New York
  • If a trustee’s role ends based on the occurrence of certain circumstances 
  • The trustee mismanages the trust 
  • A court orders a trustee to do something and the trustee does not comply
  • The trustee is not fit to perform their duties due to substance abuse
  • A trustee has removed property from the estate for personal use
  • A trustee provided false statements
  • A trustee is required to report to the court and fails to do so 


How Trustees Can Be Removed


In the state of New York, the process of removing a trustee begins with filing the appropriate paperwork with Surrogate Court


To begin this process, the individual who is initiating the process must be a co-trustee, creditor, interested party, a party who is pursuing the matter on behalf of an interested infant, or a surety on the bond of a trustee. 


The assistance of a skilled estate planning lawyer can often prove in navigating this process. 


Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer Today


There are a number of reasons why you might desire to have a trust administrator removed. Doing so, however, can be a complex process. To navigate this process, it can help greatly to retain the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer. 

Contact Ettinger Estate Planning today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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