It’s 2017. Experts estimate that California’s population
is approaching 40 million. Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San
Diego, Orange, Alameda, Contra Costa and Sacramento Counties are a very significant part of our
state’s annual growth. These are also counties where Hackard Law
regularly litigates disputed trust, estate and elder financial abuse cases. The breadth of our trust litigation practice
in our nation’s most populous state provides a vista into what causes trust disputes to
evolve into lawsuits. We receive dozens of calls from prospective
clients every week. A significant number of these calls involve
general trustee misconduct and more specifically trust and asset hiding. The failure and refusal of a trustee to provide
a copy of the trust and its amendments to trust beneficiaries sets off alarm bells immediately. The trustee’s effort to interfere with an
orderly trust administration is simply a bad idea. If we were to use the Homeland Security color-coded
threat advisory system, a trustee hiding a trust and its amendments raises the risk of
wrongdoing from low (green) to high (orange) or maybe even severe (red). So what does California law say about this? The probate code provides
“on reasonable request by a beneficiary, the trustee shall report to the beneficiary
by providing requested information to the beneficiary relating to the administration
of the trust relevant to the beneficiary’s interest.” Moreover and more specifically the law says
“On the request of a beneficiary, the trustee shall provide the terms of the trust to the
beneficiary…” Well, this is pretty clear isn’t it? It may be clear, but plenty of trustees refuse
to follow the law and fail the standard of care required of a trustee. There are remedies for such failures that
range from court ordered trustee removal to the beneficiary’s pursuit of a personal
monetary judgment against the trustee. Hiding the trust from beneficiaries is a bad
idea. Hackard Law is a California based law firm
litigating cases on behalf of victims of elder financial abuse, wronged beneficiaries and
heirs. If you would like to speak with us about your
case call us at (916) 313-3031.