Shaking hands with TrusteeThis is the next post in my series on disputing a Trust in California. My last article discussed the statute of limitations for disputing a Trust. It is important to understand that any claims must be made within a certain amount of time. Failing to do so can result in one losing their right to bring suit. In this article I will discuss another important topic – whether one actually has a claim against the Trustee. This is a topic which causes a great deal of confusion and it is strongly suggested that you contact a San Bernardino trust lawyer for assistance.

There are many common claims which arise during a Trust administration. Common actions or errors by the Trustee, which result in disputes, include:

  • Breaching the Trust by spending too much of the Trust’s money, engaging in self-dealing, or otherwise profiting off of the Trust
  • Failing to gain a return on the Trust’s assets. An example of this may include letting large amounts of money sit in a non-interest bearing account.
  • Failing to provide information in a timely and reasonable manner

One of the most common reasons for a Trustee making these types of mistakes is that some tend to think that, as a Trustee, they have “all the power.” They allow this belief to lull them into thinking that they do not have certain responsibilities to the beneficiaries. The fact of the matter is that, as a Trustee, one has been charged with the responsibility of protecting the interests of others. Failing to do so will open the Trustee up to liability.

Of the Trustee errors mentioned above the most common is the failure to provide information to the beneficiaries. A Trustee must generally provide information to a beneficiary within sixty days of the time at which it was requested. It must be understood, however, that requests for information must be reasonable. Also, requests for information must be made in writing. A beneficiary who does not make their request in writing will not be able to claim that the Trustee failed to provide information.

It is important for beneficiaries to understand that they cannot bring a claim against a Trustee simply because they disagree with actions that have been taken. A Trustee is required to make reasonable decisions; simply disagreeing with what the Trustee has done does not mean that the actions taken were unreasonable. If you are unsure as to whether or not you have a claim against a Trustee then it is important that you seek legal assistance. Contact my San Bernardino office to speak with a trust dispute lawyer. I also service Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Ontario, Victorville, Rialto, Hesperia, Chino, Upland, Apple Valley, Redlands, Highland, Colton, Yucaipa, Montclair, elsewhere in the Inland Empire, as well as Los Angeles.