California trustee duties are created to protect beneficiaries and trust assets, but these duties are ineffective if trustees fail to understand them. Another name for these obligations are fiduciary duty. Regardless of the reason, if a trustee fails to fulfill their fiduciary duties, working with a California trust litigation lawyer is essential. Fortunately, at Gokal Law Group, we have been defending and protecting the rights of beneficiaries for decades; we are here to set the record straight. In our experience, a lack of understanding has hurt beneficiaries’ confidence and their chances of receiving justice.
Learn common myths about these duties in our blog.
Common Myths About California Trustee Duties
For beneficiaries, understanding fiduciary duties helps understand when you need a trust litigation attorney. Unfortunately, many myths cloud these duties, and when trustees falsely believe in them, it has severe repercussions on the trust and your inheritance. From accounting to impartiality, learn the most common myths:
Record-Keeping and Trust Accounting
One common myth surrounding California trustee duties is about preparing an accounting, which they must prepare at least annually.
Many trustees mistakenly believe an accounting is not a legal requirement and that they do not have to conduct regular record-keeping. If a trustee refuses to prepare an accounting or is evasive about an accounting, this is a major red flag for beneficiaries.
A trust accounting is a comprehensive overview of every transaction that relates to the trust so beneficiaries can oversee how a trustee is managing trust assets. Discrepancies or false accountings are grounds for California trust litigation.
“Trustees should be recording all transactions weekly to ensure their trust accounting includes all funds entering or leaving the trust. If they fail to do so, working with an attorney is essential to protect your inheritance from their inability or ulterior motives,” offered Abbas K. Gokal, a partner and practicing trust litigation lawyer at Gokal Law Group with decades of experience in probate courts.
Communicating With Beneficiaries
Another common myth regarding California trustee duties revolves around communication with beneficiaries. Many trustees believe that they do not have to communicate regularly with beneficiaries and provide information while administering a trust.
Trustees have a legal duty to communicate with beneficiaries and keep them “reasonably informed” about the status of the trust and how they are administering it. If a trustee refuses to communicate, working with a premier California trust litigation lawyer is crucial.
Trustees sometimes fail to consider their relationship with beneficiaries, which is a big mistake. A major myth about California trustee duties is that favoritism has no repercussions, but this is wrong.
“Trustees have a legal duty of impartiality. We see cases all the time where a trustee fails to favor one beneficiary to the detriment of others. This breach of duty is grounds for litigation,” added Abbas.
Favoritism can have severe consequences on your inheritance and the integrity of a trust. If your trustee is failing to remain objective, working with a premier California trust litigation lawyer is of the utmost importance.
Many trustees believe they can use trust funds however they want. This myth about California trustee duties has some of the most severe repercussions.
Trustees cannot mix their funds with trust funds, and they cannot misappropriate or steal from the trust. Trustees must follow the trust terms to administer funds. If a trustee does not follow the terms of the trust, this is a severe breach of their duty.
Trustees have to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries and trust, too. Even if a trustee had good intentions, if they do not invest funds prudently, this is grounds for working with a California trust litigation lawyer to protect trust assets.
Attorneys for Breached California Trustee Duties
California trustee duties are armor for beneficiaries and their interests, ensuring a trustee is doing her/his job and not abusing their power. However, interpreting these duties can be difficult. If you suspect that a trustee is failing to perform their duties, working with a premier California trust litigation lawyer is essential to preserving the integrity of the trust and protecting your inheritance. At Gokal, we have decades of experience defending beneficiaries against negligent or outright nefarious trustees.