Is a Trustee Not Communicating with Beneficiaries? Here’s What to Do

Is a trustee refusing or failing to communicate with you or other beneficiaries? Whether they are not telling you what assets a trust holds or how they are investing those assets, per California trust law, trustees must communicate with beneficiaries and keep them informed. This is one of the many fiduciary duties trustees have a legal responsibility to fulfill. Unfortunately, some trustees fail to uphold this duty. If you are dealing with circumstances involving a trustee not communicating with beneficiaries, you have rights, and an attorney can help you enforce them.

At Gokal Law Group, we have helped beneficiaries enforce their rights under the Probate Code and have successfully recovered millions of dollars in settlements and trial verdicts for clients when trustees fail to communicate. Here’s how to deal with an unresponsive trustee. 

Is a Trustee Not Communicating with Beneficiaries? What to Do.

In some situations, a trustee may go unresponsive from the start. Under the Probate Code, “The trustee has a duty to keep the beneficiaries of the trust reasonably informed of the trust and its administration.” Probate Code Section 16060. Trustees are required to share the following information with beneficiaries:

  • A notice that they have become the trustee of the trust
  • A copy of the trust document(s)
  • The anticipated timeline for administration
  • A complete written record of the distributions made from the trust (including who received what amount and on what date)
  • An accounting that summarizes the trust’s income and expenses

When beneficiaries haven’t received any of this information, this is a clear example of a trustee not communicating with beneficiaries. Trustees must provide the majority of this information in a trust accounting at least once annually, or whenever beneficiaries request it. A trustee has 60 days to furnish you with this information upon your request. 

As a start, make sure the trustee has your correct contact information. You should also communicate with the trustee in a way that isn’t overly hostile when making your initial request. If the trustee continues to evade her/his communication responsibilities, this is a red flag. 

At best, the trustee is negligent and unaware of their responsibilities. And at worst, they are concealing misconduct that could irreversibly damage the trust itself. Either way, contacting a trust litigation attorney ASAP is crucial to safeguard the trust and your inheritance. 

Sometimes, in emotionally tense situations, communication can falter, and judgment can become impaired. Your attorney will be impartial and guide you through this situation to enforce your California trust beneficiary rights. 

If you and your attorney have tried to communicate with a trustee and have yet to receive a satisfactory response, your attorney will initiate litigation and file a petition with your local court which will ultimately force the trustee to respond.

Having counsel on your side is essential because, with their expertise and experience in trust litigation, they can compel the court to remove the trustee and hold them personally liable for any damages you have incurred as a result of their failure to uphold their duty to communicate. 

“When you file a petition, a whole arsenal of legal tools becomes available. You will have access to the formal discovery process, including subpoenas, depositions, demands for documents, and written actions to force the trustee to provide you with the information pertaining to the trust administration. This is the surest way to gain the information you need for peace of mind and for your attorney to compile evidence of any misconduct the trustee could be covering up. It is critical to contact a trust litigation lawyer as soon as a trustee stops communicating with you.”

Abbas K. Gokal, Partner, Gokal Law Group

Related Article: Trustee’s Duty to Inform  Beneficiaries in California

Is a Trustee Not Communicating with Beneficiaries? Contact Us to Enforce Your Rights!

Have you found yourself in a situation that involves a trustee not communicating with beneficiaries? You have a right to information, and you deserve to work with a trust litigation attorney who will enforce your rights. At Gokal Law Group, we will help you get the information you are entitled to. If this lapse in communication is the result of a more severe offense, we will hold them accountable for that, too, as we protect your inheritance. 

Visit our Contact Page to schedule a free consultation and enforce your rights, preserve the integrity of the trust, and safeguard your inheritance. 


The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and Gokal Law Group, Inc. All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. 

Readers of this website should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.

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