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Removing Your Loved One’s Special Needs Trust Trustee

Removing Your Loved One’s Special Needs Trust Trustee

When you have a loved one with a significant disability, setting up a special needs trust is often a fundamental part of making sure they can live comfortably. When managed wisely, this financial resource can help pay for additional expenses for life. However, when a trust is improperly managed, funds can be wasted, and payments could end up disqualifying a recipient from essential government programs. If you or other family members have concerns about how a trustee is managing a special needs trust, you will need to know more about removing your loved one’s special needs trust trustee.

What Does a Special Needs Trust Trustee Do?

A California special needs trustee is responsible for safeguarding trust assets and making financial and other investment decisions that benefit the trust beneficiary. The trustee must be well-versed in the income restrictions and requirements for any government benefit programs for the beneficiary. This is because the trust disbursements must be made to the beneficiary for specific purposes that comply with program restrictions.

Signs that a Special Needs Trustee May Need to be Removed

  • The Trustee is a Loved One Without Financial Skills
    • Often family members take on this crucial role without understanding what is involved. A well-meaning relative may want what is best for your loved one but not know how to manage their funds or make appropriate disbursements. If the trustee is not taking steps to learn more about his or her role and improve their skills, it may be time to step in on your loved one’s behalf.
  • Your Loved One Does Not Appear to be Benefitting from the Trust
    • A California special needs trust can pay for expenses such as travel, furniture, education, massage, therapy services not covered by Medi-Cal, entertainment, transportation, and many other costs. If your loved one appears to only be getting by on his or her SSI (Social Security Income) and is not engaged in any of the other things that a special needs trust would pay for, it may be a sign that the trustee is not making disbursements. This kind of problem warrants a closer examination of the trustee and his or her conduct.
  • The Trustee has had a Significant Change in Life Circumstances
    • Although we may think of an inappropriate trustee acting in an improper manner, there can be times when a trustee is no longer capable of serving in his or her role because something has changed in their life. A major health problem or family situation may prove to be too overwhelming for the trustee to continue. If you know the trustee has recently experienced something in his or her life that may interfere with their ability to perform their duties, it may be time to talk to them about stepping down. By being proactive, you may be able to address the matter before problems develop, and identify a suitable replacement trustee.

Removing the Special Needs Trust Trustee

Generally, a California trustee can be removed because he or she has mismanaged assets, failed to perform a duty, or can no longer perform the tasks required of the role. Concerned loved ones may be able to talk to the trustee, but in many cases, it will be necessary to go to court. If you are worried that your loved one’s special needs trustee is not fit to perform their duties, you should contact a special needs trust attorney as soon as possible to discuss your observations. Your attorney can help you evaluate the evidence and determine the best way to go about protecting your loved one’s interests.

Contact a California Special Needs Trust Attorney

If you have concerns regarding your loved one’s California special needs trust trustee, it would be best to consult with a California special needs trust attorney who can help you evaluate your situation.  At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we understand the importance of having the right California special needs trust trustee and have the expertise to help you take a comprehensive look at your situation. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.