How Is A Petition To Remove A Trustee Made?

If no lawsuit involving the trust is pending, any of the persons listed above may institute a new lawsuit seeking to remove a trustee by filing a petition or complaint.  However, if a suit relating to the trust is already pending, the party seeking removal of the trustee need not file a new suit or amend their pleadings to add a claim seeking to remove a trustee.  Virginia law provides that a proceeding to remove a trustee and appoint a substitute trustee may be brought by motion, so long as the movant provides notice of the motion to all persons interested in the trust.

Who Will Be Appointed As Successor Trustee?

Virginia's Uniform Trust Code establishes an order of priority for the appointment of a successor trustee when there is a vacancy in the trusteeship. With respect to noncharitable trusts, which most run-of-the-mill trusts are, the order of priority is as follows:

  • A person designated by the trust to serve as successor trustee.
  • A person appointed by unanimous consent of the qualified beneficiaries.
  • A person appointed by the court to serve as successor trustee.

Charitable trusts, on the other hand, generally don't have "qualified beneficiaries."  Instead, the charitable organizations expressly designated to receive distributions from the trust can pick a successor trustee, provided that the Attorney General must also agree if he has previously asked to be consulted about who should be appointed.

Benjamin P. Kyber
Richmond Appellate Law Attorney Serving Virginia, Henrico County.
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