This office has significant experience litigating on behalf of trust beneficiaries, as well as defending trustees. We represent clients in a variety of trust actions, including trust contests, beneficiary claims, trust reformation, and accounting of trust finances. One of the largest areas of trust litigation surrounds the trustee’s actions during the administration. If you are a trustee, you occupy a position of trust and confidence and it is imperative that you have competent counsel to guide you through the process. If you are a beneficiary, you should know that the trustee owes a duty of care to the beneficiaries. A trustee:
- must contact beneficiaries to make them aware of the existence of the Trust and to keep them reasonably informed of the Trust and its administration;
- has a duty to administer the Trust solely in the interest of the beneficiaries and to deal impartially with them;
- cannot use trust property for their own profit or for any nontrust purpose;
- must not engage in any transaction that will result in a conflict of interest between you and the Trust or a beneficiary;
- must take reasonable steps to take and keep control of trust property and to preserve the trust property and make it productive;
- must not commingle (mix-up) trust property with their own property under any circumstance;
- must provide the beneficiaries with certain information on reasonable request (see Probate Code §16061) even if the Trust Instrument waives this requirement (see Probate Code §16068); and
- must give a full accounting and report of all trust transactions not less often than annually or at the termination of the Trust or on a change of trustee (see Probate Code §16062), unless the Trust instrument or a beneficiary waives this requirement in writing.
If you are a trustee, or a beneficiary, and need an attorney, please call for a free 30 minute consultation. We’re here to help you each step of the way.