If you are the beneficiary of a trust put in place by a living or deceased family member or some other benefactor, your financial well-being is at least partially in the hands of the trustee appointed to oversee that trust. Unfortunately, trustees mishandle their responsibilities in administering trusts quite frequently, either through incompetence, greed and self-dealing, lack of attention, or any other number of reasons. And it is rarely the trustee who suffers when this happens; instead it’s you and your fellow beneficiaries who must pay for the trustee’s mistakes and/or outright theft. But there are actions you can take in California to protect your rights in such a situation.
Common Ways in Which Trustees Fail to Fulfill Their Duties
In order to understand whether you have the legal right to take action against a trustee in California, you have to look at whether the trustee has either taken some action to violate the terms of the trust, failed to take an action he was supposed to take, or committed some other type of violation which justifies legal action against him. Common ways this might occur in a trust-trustee situation include:
- The trustee failing to make distributions to beneficiaries on time or in full
- The trustee failing to properly invest or maintain trust property
- The trustee giving himself unjustifiably high compensation from the trust
- The trustee stealing from the trust or allowing others to do so
- The trustee having mental or physical issues which prevent him from fulfilling his duties
- The trustee himself being insolvent
- Where there is hostility among co-trustees
Taking Action to Protect Your Interests as a Beneficiary
If you suspect that any of the above descriptions apply to a situation involving a trust for which you are a beneficiary, you can take action to remove that trustee from the trust by petitioning the court to have the trustee removed. Although this may feel like a dramatic move, it is often critical for beneficiaries to take this action to prevent an incompetent, unqualified, inattentive, or fraudulent trustee from continuing to take action which harms their financial well-being for years to come.
By working with an experienced California attorney, you can assess the situation to determine whether grounds for trustee removal exist, discuss your legal options and potential strategies (which can include presenting your issues to the trustee prior to taking court action), and take decisive action to protect your interests in the trust and those of other beneficiary’s before further damage occurs.
Work With a CA Trust Attorney to Protect Your Interests
If you have any reason to suspect a trustee is mismanaging trust assets or otherwise breaching his duties, The Inheritance Recovery Attorneys are here to help. Contact one of the dedicated team members at The Inheritance Recovery Attorneys to see how we can help you in getting the recovery you deserve in your probate or trust matter.