How to Remove a Fiduciary in Connecticut Banner

Fiduciaries do not always act in the best interest of the person they are obligated to protect. Here is how to remove an unethical fiduciary in Connecticut

When it’s time to engage in estate planning, naming an executor of the estate is a basic step. This executor is also known as a “fiduciary,” and by assuming the role, the fiduciary owes a legal duty to properly manage the estate.

Once appointed, a fiduciary typically has the legal latitude to pay debts, manage assets, dispose of assets and distribute property to beneficiaries. As you may imagine, this role comes with heavy responsibility and trust.

Unfortunately, some fiduciaries prove themselves utterly unworthy of that trust. In such cases, Connecticut state law provides some mechanisms to seek removal of a fiduciary.

How to Challenge a Fiduciary

According to Connecticut state law, there are four instances in which a fiduciary may be replaced: 

(1) The fiduciary becomes incapable of executing such fiduciary’s trust, neglects to perform the duties of such fiduciary’s trust, wastes the estate in such fiduciary’s charge, or fails to furnish any additional or substitute probate bond ordered by the court.

(2) Lack of cooperation among co-fiduciaries substantially impairs the administration of the estate

(3) Because of unfitness, unwillingness or persistent failure of the fiduciary to administer the estate effectively, the court determines that removal of the fiduciary best serves the interests of the beneficiaries

(4) There has been a substantial change of circumstances or removal is requested by all of the beneficiaries, the court finds that removal of the fiduciary best serves the interests of all the beneficiaries and is not inconsistent with a material purpose of the governing instrument and a suitable co-fiduciary or successor fiduciary is available

If a fiduciary is acting improperly, this statute provides legal grounds for seeking the removal of a fiduciary.

Common reasons why a fiduciary may be removed, including commingling of personal funds with estate funds; improper gifts, self-dealing, or neglecting to administer the estate in a way that serves the best interest of the estate.

How Do I Begin the Process?

The first step in removing a fiduciary is contacting a local law firm that is experienced in fiduciary disputes. This law firm can begin undertaking a full accounting of the fiduciary’s actions and help uncover any malfeasance.

Once there is evidence the fiduciary is not honoring his or her legal obligations, an action can be commenced in probate court to remove the fiduciary.

Once removed, the fiduciary must account for their actions and omissions, turn over all property of the estate to the appointed successor fiduciary, and may be required to reimburse the estate in certain circumstances.

Because these cases can be quite complex, finding an experienced local firm should be a top priority.

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