California Trust Law: What Are Objections to Accounting?

Gokal Law attorneys are often asked to help explain certain aspects of estate and trust law. Many people have common questions well before they may need litigation. One of the more frequent questions we are asked is about an accounting, and more specifically, what are some of the objections to it.

As a beneficiary of an estate or trust, an accounting is your window into how the trustee is managing it. This report is an overview of every financial transaction they made regarding the trust or estate, and it is a tool at your disposal to enforce your rights. Many beneficiaries ask, What are objections to accounting? When an accounting is inaccurate or misleading, beneficiaries have the legal right to challenge it in court. 

We have helped countless beneficiaries enforce their probate rights and successfully recovered millions of dollars in settlements and trial verdicts for clients. Here’s what you need to know about these objections. 

What Are Objections to Accounting

When a trustee files a formal accounting, beneficiaries receive a copy. It is crucial to closely review this document. While it isn’t always the case, sometimes a fiduciary can be dishonest and file misleading, confusing, or blatantly inaccurate accounting information. 

In these situations, beneficiaries have the legal right to file an objection to an accounting under California trust law. As soon as you believe you have the grounds to file an accounting that is suspicious, it is crucial to work with an attorney.

An inaccurate or misleading accounting is typically the first sign that a trustee has breached their fiduciary duty and is concealing wrongdoing, like stealing from the estate or trust or acting in a way that poses a conflict of interest. These matters are severe, so having a litigation lawyer on your side is crucial. 

Lawyers understand that money typically leaves a trail, and they will conduct discovery and obtain bank records, subpoena evidence, depose the trustee, and interview witnesses to prove that the accounting is inaccurate. 

If a trustee files an accounting, they will have to prove that it is accurate. Sometimes, they can remedy it easily if it is a simple mistake. But if it reveals a breach of fiduciary duty, litigation is essential to protecting your inheritance. 

“There are two deadlines that are crucial to know. First, once someone files an accounting and gets court approval, you can no longer file an objection. The second is that you have up to three years to file an objection or a challenge to a trustee’s accounting. You cannot file an objection after this period. So acting as soon as you suspect a mistake in the accounting or a breach of duty is imperative.”

Andrew Micaraset, Associate, Gokal Law Group

Related Article: How Can You Object and Dispute a California Trust Accounting?

Has a Trustee Provided an Inaccurate Accounting? Work with a Team of Lawyers Who Are Experts in California Trust Law!

So, what are objections to accounting? An objection to accounting is a tool at your disposal as a beneficiary to enforce your rights when a trustee or executor is breaching their duty. An accounting is often where you first find signs of wrongdoing.

To safeguard your inheritance, visit our Contact Page to schedule a free consultation. 


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