How Long Does it Take to Change My Trustee?
If I currently do not like my trustee and would like to hand over my road accident fund trust to another trust fiduciary company, how long does it take? And will I lose access to my funds?
The first question is whether you have the choice to change trustees, which depends on what your trust says. It may give you the right to change trustees as you wish, give someone else that power, or even have no provision for change of trustee, which would require you to go to court to make a change. The trust also may permit the change without any reason or require that you prove malfeasance (bad acts) by the current trustee. Some trusts permit the change based simply on a breakdown in communications. Finally, the trust may or may not restrict your choice of a new trustee. It may require that the trustee be a financial institution or independent professional, such as an attorney or accountant.
All of that said, these are legal requirements. Even if you don’t have the power to change the trustee at will, it may not be in the current trustee’s best interest to continue to serve if your relationship has broken down. They may be willing to assist in the transition if they feel comfortable that your new trustee can handle the work.
All of these variables affect how long the process will take. However, once you have a new trustee selected, the transition should take a month or two, as you get all the documents signed and the new accounts set up. In terms of losing access to funds, there could be a short period when they’re unavailable during the transition from one trustee to another, but that period shouldn’t be more than a couple of weeks.