When can a trustee’s actions lead to trust litigation?

| Dec 14, 2018 | trust litigation | 0 comments

Being named a trustee is an honor, but it also comes with many duties, both in the administration of the trust as well as a fiduciary duty towards the trust and trust beneficiaries. If a trustee in California fails to properly execute their duties, it could give rise to trust litigation. Therefore, it is important for beneficiaries to understand what a trustee’s role is with regards to the trust, so they can recognize when the trust is being mishandled.

Trustees have numerous duties that they must fulfill on an ongoing basis. If applicable, they must invest trust assets. These investments should be made in a way that preserves trust assets and makes the trust a productive vehicle for the trust beneficiaries. Trustees must also distribute trust assets to the beneficiaries of the trust per the terms of the trust. Depending on the trust, a trustee might need to use his or her good judgement over when to distribute payments to a trust beneficiary. Trustees are responsible for preparing any necessary tax returns. Trustees must keep the trust beneficiaries up-to-date on the health of the trust, providing them with any necessary account statements and tax reports. If the trustees have questions about the trust, it is up to the trustee to resolve them.

These are important duties. Trustees have a fiduciary duty towards the trust and trust beneficiaries. If a trustee fails in this duty, the beneficiaries to the trust might want to pursue trust litigation. For example, trustees cannot be self-dealing, nor can they show favoritism. Any decisions made by a trustee must be made objectively, and in the best interests of both the beneficiaries and the trust entirely.

If a beneficiary believes the trustee is mismanaging the trust or failing in their fiduciary duties, then the beneficiary may want to learn more about his or her legal options. Beneficiaries trust the trustees to do the right thing with regards to the trust, so any breach of conduct could give rise to legal action. Professionals are available to help beneficiaries who want to pursue trust litigation if the trust is being mishandled by a trustee.