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Can you change or remove a trustee?

A recent study revealed what each state's residents have the most concern about when it comes to finances. In Michigan, the most Googled financial term was "income tax." However, perhaps Michigan residents should take a cue from New Yorkers and feel more concerned about estate planning, which was that state's most searched term. 

One aspect of your estate plan you need to carefully consider is who should be the trustee of your estate. This is an individual who has a legal responsibility to administer property within a trust to the proper parties. You need to carefully consider who should have this responsibility, but in the event you want to change the trustee for whatever reason, it is possible to do so. 

Look at the trust deed

First, you should look at your trust deed in Michigan to see what the procedures are for changing your trustee. You will then need to contact all of your trust beneficiaries. You will have to acquire their consent to the amendment in your trust stating who should be the trustee. This will become substantially more difficult if any of your beneficiaries are young children or remain unnamed. For example, you may have included hypothetical grandchildren who do not exist yet within your will. You obviously cannot obtain their consent, so you will need to go through more legal hoops to complete this task.

Contact the trustee and appoint a replacement

The trust grantor must also provide consent, and from there, it is time to designate a replacement. The replacement will need to consent to have this new responsibility. It is also possible to assign an alternate trustee within the initial document, which makes the entire process a lot simpler. You should avoid appointing a beneficiary in your trust to also be the trustee because there is a clear conflict of interest. Once you take care of all of this, you should draft a court motion to finish the legal grounds for replacement.  

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