The telephone call can be long or short. The message may be clear at the outset or
only parsed out after a series of my seemingly unrelated questions. The caller’s emotions may be controlled
or buffeted by a frustrating mix of disbelief and surprise from trustee mistreatment – even
theft. The story elements are much the same – the
caller is a child of a now-deceased parent who provided for the child in a trust. The trustee may be the child’s sibling,
an appointed licensed fiduciary, a bank, or a securities company. Whoever the trustee is – the duty is the
same – “The trustee has a duty to administer the trust solely in the interest of the beneficiaries.” So what do breaches of loyalty look like? They are varied, but strong currents arise. Actions that evidence a trustee’s selfish
interest abound. A trustee borrows money from the trust and
fails to provide documentation or security for the loan. Interest is not paid and an aura of secrecy
surrounds the transaction or transactions. A trustee fails to distribute assets so that
he or she can charge more trustee fees. A trustee hires a related professional and
the team charges fees to the trust that far exceed the norm. The trustee will not return calls to the beneficiary
or otherwise communicate with him. The trustee is benefitting her children by
sharing trust assets with them. The trustee is living in real estate owned
by the trust and is not paying rent. The trustee is driving cars owned by the trust. The trustee takes all of the personal property
from the decedent’s home and neither accounts for it nor provides it to the beneficiaries. Large sums of money are reserved from trust
assets followed by trustee threats to any beneficiaries challenging the trustees that
all trust assets will be exhausted in a trustee defense. This conduct sure looks like the actions are
all designed to benefit the trustee’s selfish interest. So at Hackard Law we represent beneficiaries
who have been damaged by trustees who are using trust money for their special interest
and those of third parties. Trustee removal and damages for bad conduct
are remedies available to aggrieved beneficiaries. That said, these cases are hard fought, expensive
and time consuming. Still, many beneficiaries will engage in the
fight because a bad trustee is giving them nothing, and they either fight or accept what
looks like a loss. At Hackard Law we represent abused beneficiaries
in California’s most populous counties – including Sacramento, Alameda, Los Angeles, Santa Clara
and Orange County. If you are an abused beneficiary and you want
to talk about your case call us at Hackard Law (916) 313-3030. We want to hear your story.