Fiduciary_DutyWhile the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA) §§711 and 719 have a considerable list of grounds warranting the removal of an ineffective fiduciary, beneficiaries (and their attorneys) often face the daunting prospect of having to apply to the court to obtain such relief, even when the enumerated grounds are apparently present. The removal of a fiduciary is a lengthy and expensive process and can take many months, even years, to complete given the court’s busy calendar schedule and procedural steps.

Attorneys are familiar with the following scenarios: A client calls asking for your help because the executor of his mother’s estate has made no distributions and is selling mom’s assets without diligence. Or, you get a call from a beneficiary of a trust where the trustee has made no distributions, has not paid taxes, and, it is believed, has commingled assets. All of these scenarios are based partially on speculation and partially on fact. Your client wants the fiduciary out, and you believe there is a basis for proceeding with removal. So, what is your next step? Consider the below when removing a fiduciary.

Surrogate’s Court