Integrity. Experience. Perseverance.

The duties every California trustee must follow

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Trust Litigation

Knowing the responsibilities associated with the trustee’s role is essential for everyone involved in managing a trust. This balanced perspective aims to shed light on the duties that trustees are bound to uphold, which is beneficial information for both beneficiaries and trustees.

Upholding the best interests of beneficiaries

It’s the trustee’s responsibility to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. This is a constant, whether the trust is active during the grantor’s lifetime or after they’ve passed, with the focus then fully shifting to the beneficiaries.

Equality among beneficiaries

Trustees are expected to treat all beneficiaries impartially. Their decisions should be fair and not influenced by personal relationships with any beneficiary.

Steering clear of personal gain

Trustees must keep their personal interests separate from their role to avoid any conflicts that could affect the management of the trust.

Open and honest communication

It’s required that trustees keep beneficiaries informed about the trust’s contents. Providing timely access to information and documents is not only courteous but also a legal requirement. Plus, regular updates help maintain transparency and help reduce misunderstandings.

Responsibility cannot be outsourced

While trustees can seek professional help, the ultimate responsibility for the trust’s management still lies with them. They must not delegate this authority.

Protecting the trust’s interests

Trustees have the duty to defend the trust’s property and enforce claims when necessary. The cost versus benefit of these actions should always be considered. Legal guidance can be beneficial in these scenarios.

Keeping trust assets separate

Mixing trust assets with personal ones is a strict no-no for trustees. Such actions can have significant legal consequences and must be avoided at all costs.

Help unraveling a dispute between trustee and beneficiary

Both trustees and beneficiaries should be well-versed in these obligations to ensure the trust is managed effectively and fairly. If disputes arise or if the trust’s administration hits a complex snag, don’t hesitate to consult with a legal professional to navigate these waters smoothly.