Removing a Trustee – Probate Code 15642


Trust administration is a delicate balance of responsibilities, and when conflicts or issues arise, the option of trustee removal becomes a critical consideration. California Probate Code 15642 outlines the legal framework for the removal of a trustee, ensuring that trust administration remains aligned with beneficiaries’ best interests. In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of California Probate Code 15642 and explore the circumstances and procedures involved in trustee removal.

California Probate Code 15642: A Mechanism for Effective Trust Management:

California Probate Code 15642 serves as a safeguard, allowing for the removal of a trustee under specific circumstances. This code section is designed to protect beneficiaries and uphold the integrity of trust administration when trustee actions jeopardize the fulfillment of their fiduciary duties.

Key Provisions of California Probate Code 15642:

Breaches of Fiduciary Duty: Trustee removal can be initiated if a trustee is found to have breached their fiduciary duties. These breaches may include mismanagement of assets, conflicts of interest, self-dealing, or failure to act in the best interests of beneficiaries.

Beneficiary Consent: Under certain circumstances, beneficiaries may jointly consent to the removal of a trustee. This provision acknowledges beneficiaries’ rights and allows for collective action when trustee actions are adversely affecting the trust.

Court Petition: Beneficiaries, co-trustees, or other interested parties can petition the court for the removal of a trustee. The court will evaluate the evidence presented and determine whether trustee removal is justified.

The Process of Trustee Removal:

Grounds for Removal: Before initiating trustee removal, a clear case must be established, demonstrating breaches of fiduciary duty or other valid reasons. Consultation with legal professionals is advisable to ensure the case is well-founded.

Collecting Evidence: Documented evidence of trustee misconduct, mismanagement, or conflicts of interest is crucial. This evidence will be pivotal in making a compelling case for trustee removal.

Filing a Petition: If beneficiaries decide to pursue trustee removal, a formal petition is filed with the court outlining the grounds for removal and presenting the evidence. The court will review the case and make a determination.

Court Decision: The court will weigh the evidence, consider trustee responses, and determine whether removal is warranted. The decision aims to protect the beneficiaries’ interests and maintain the integrity of trust administration.


California Probate Code 15642 ensures that trustee removal is a feasible option when trustee actions jeopardize the beneficiaries’ rights and the trust’s integrity. While trustee removal is a serious step, it serves as a crucial mechanism to safeguard trust assets and uphold the fiduciary duties owed to beneficiaries.

If you are faced with a situation wherein you are being removed as a trustee or you need to remove a bad trustee, give our experienced office a call at (951) 226-5294. We practice trust litigation in Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles County. 

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