We recently, visited the responsibilities of the Pet Trustee, see here and determined that their duties mirror those of other Trustees.
In addition to the restrictions imposed in the Trust Agreement , we noted that the Uniform Trust Code also sets out specific expectations for the Trustee.
What happens if the Trustee fails to adhere to the restrictions and steps outside the parameters of the power structure?
If a Trustee is believed to have breached their duties under the Trust Agreement or threatens to do so, what ability does the Court have to control the actions of the Trustee?
Under the common law there were limited remedies available for a breach of duty action again the Trustee. Only the Beneficiary and any Co-Trustee could bring the action and it was a matter for the Court to review.
The legislatures have now provided in most states, that others may represent a Beneficiary if legal action against the Trustee becomes necessary.
In the case of a Pet Trust, the Pet Caretaker would be able to bring an action of the behalf of the Pet.
Generally the Court can order the Trustee to do any number of things, including ordering the Trustee to perform the Trustee’s duties as set out in the Trust or to stop the Trustee from committing a breach of that agreement; order the Trustee to repay money or restore property to the Trust and order the trustee to account for all assets.
In some circumstances the Court can suspend the activities of the Trustee or even remove them from their duties or deny them any compensation for their work.
Many states have also written specific remedies that are available if a Trustee is in violation of their duties. Usually, these remedies are contained within the State's Trust Code and are identical or closely similar to those of the Uniform Trust Code.