An irrevocable trust is a trust that you cannot change, amend, or revoke once it is signed into existence. However, every rule has its exception, and irrevocable trusts are not different.
In a few circumstances, it may be possible to modify the terms of an irrevocable trust, such as removing a trustee from the legal arrangement and appointing a new trustee. Keep reading to find out how to remove a trustee from an irrevocable trust in Florida.
Judicial Modification of Irrevocable Trusts – As Provided by Law
Florida Statutes §736.04113 provide that “upon the application of a trustee of the trust or any qualified beneficiary, a court at any time may modify the terms of a trust that is not then revocable in the manner provided in subsection (2), if:
- The purposes of the trust have been fulfilled or have become illegal, impossible, wasteful, or impracticable to fulfill,
- Because of circumstances not anticipated by the settlor, compliance with the terms of the trust would defeat or substantially impair the accomplishment of a material purpose of the trust, or
- A material purpose of the trust no longer exists”
Subsection (2) of the same statute adds that when modifying a trust under this statutory provisions, “a court may:
- Amend or change the terms of the trust, including terms governing distribution of the trust income or principal or terms governing administration of the trust
- Terminate the trust in whole or in part
- Direct or permit the trustee to do acts that are not authorized or that are prohibited by the terms of the trust, or
- Prohibit the trustee from performing acts that are permitted or required by the terms of the trust”
How Do You Remove a Trustee from an Irrevocable Trust in Florida? – Legal Options
Ultimately, the purpose of a trust is protecting someone’s assets and ensuring a fair, secure distribution of these assets to the designated beneficiaries. Hence, if an irrevocable trust either fails or cannot meet the needs of the beneficiaries, it is possible to modify or even terminate the trust altogether.
In Florida, state law permits the non-judicial termination of irrevocable trusts. Hence, any trust established after January 1, 2001, may be terminated if the trustee(s) and qualified beneficiaries provide their unanimous consent.
Nonetheless, if the trust is failing due to waste or poor management incurred by the trustee, the beneficiaries can remove the trustee and replace him/her with a new trustee.
Also, if a trust is not producing income for the beneficiaries due to the trustee’s lack of competency, it is possible to replace him/her with a competent, efficient administrator. Ideally, the best way to identify a precise solution for each case is consulting with an expert attorney.
What Reasons Justify the Judicial Termination of a Trust?
In Florida, the most common grounds for terminating a trust are cases in which:
- the size and value of the trust is insufficient to justify the cost of administration
- the creation was created as a result of fraud, duress, mistake, or undue influence
- the trustee or beneficiaries incurred a merger of interest(s)
As it is plain to see, either modifying or terminating an irrevocable trust in Florida is an overwhelmingly complex task if you do not have the required legal knowledge. Hence, the best approach is to work with an expert Florida trust attorney to protect your interests and ensure full legal compliance throughout the process.