Trustee Duties in California: What is a Duty of Care?

Trustee duties in California are legal obligations placed on trustees to protect the interests of beneficiaries and the trust. If a trustee fails to fulfill these duties, then the trustee is in breach of his or her fiduciary duty. When a trustee breaches this duty, working with a premier California trust litigation attorney is essential to enforcing your rights and protecting your inheritance.

At Gokal Law Group, we have successfully helped beneficiaries combat trustees who fail to meet California’s high standard of care when administering a trust at the expense of beneficiaries. Learn more about the duty of care in our blog.

Trustee Duties in California: What is a Duty of Care?

Trustees have significant legal responsibilities as fiduciaries. The duty of care is one of the trustee duties in California that holds fiduciaries accountable when administering the trust. Trustees must exercise reasonable care, skill, and caution under California’s standard of care.

Specifically, trustees must invest and manage trust assets as a prudent investor would, by considering the purposes, terms, distribution requirements, and other circumstances of the trust.

Trustees may be held personally liable to repay damages or be removed from their position if a breach occurs. Situations that demonstrate how a trustee must uphold this fiduciary duty include, but are not limited to:

  • Making and implementing investment decisions
  • Insuring trust property
  • Entering into arrangements with third parties, like lawyers, accountants, and advisors
  • Valuing trust assets and making trust property productive

Still, there are exceptions. If the trust instrument itself excludes or limits liability for the acting trustee, then the conventional duty of care will not apply to your situation.

“We see this kind of thing all the time. One notable case we worked on involved a trustee who made investments without really considering the risks or doing their homework resulting in significant losses in the inheritance of the beneficiaries. We were able to compile evidence and bring this trustee to justice in court, and the judge ordered them to pay back the money they lost.Alison Gokal, a partner and California trust litigation lawyer at Gokal Law Group with decades of experience in Orange County probate courts.

Premier California Trust Litigation Lawyers

If a trustee fails to exercise reasonable care, skill, and caution when administering a trust, this is a severe breach of fiduciary duty in California. Acting quickly is crucial to protecting and preserving your inheritance and the trust itself. Fortunately, with the representation of a premier California trust litigation attorney, you can rectify this transgression.

Visit our Contact Us page and fill out a form to schedule a case evaluation to ensure the trustee conducts their due diligence and meets the standard of care when administering the trust.

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