In California, a trustee has a significant
amount of control over the trust administration process. The trustee has the power to gather the assets
of the trust, work with creditors, and distribute the trust assets to the beneficiaries. The trustee also owes the beneficiaries of
the trust (and the trust itself) a fiduciary duty to act in their best interests at all
times. Unfortunately, this does not always happen,
and trustees sometimes breach their duties to beneficiaries to the extent that it justifies
their removal. Trustees owe trust beneficiaries a fiduciary
duty, which can consist of several specific tasks. These include the duty of loyalty, the duty
to act with ordinary care with regard to trust assets, the duty to act impartially with regard
to trust beneficiaries, the duty to collect trust assets, and the duty to administer the
trust according to its terms. If a trustee breaches these or any other of
the duties imposed by the trust, common law, or the California Probate Code, the beneficiaries
may have grounds to remove the trustee. A trustee may breach those duties through:
Colluding with one or some beneficiaries to the detriment of others
Engaging in self-dealing Commingling personal assets with trust assets
Negligent management of trust assets Misappropriating trust assets
Failing to administer a trust by its terms If a trustee breaches duties to the trust
or its beneficiaries or engages in conduct that the trust specifies as grounds for removal,
an interested party may possibly remove the trustee. People without significant legal training
and experience may find these grounds for removal difficult to identify, so anyone considering
the removal of a trustee should speak to an attorney before initiating any legal action
or discussing it with the trustee. The trust and estate litigation attorneys
of Hackard Law are committed to helping to protect the rights of trust beneficiaries
and understand how to remove problem trustees quickly and efficiently. We represent clients across California, from
Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Riverside, and San Diego. Call us today at 916-313-3030. We believe in better, and so should you. Thank you.