When Do You Need a Corporate Trustee Attorney?

A corporate trustee is, in some ways, similar to a regular trustee. Expertise distinguishes them. While this specialized experience typically instills confidence in their abilities, it is not uncommon for beneficiaries to sue. For corporate trustees, it is crucial to understand when it is time to work with a premier corporate trustee attorney to defend your career and reputation. For beneficiaries, understanding when your rights are violated and the trust is jeopardized is just as vital. 

Here is our guide to when you need a corporate trustee lawyer: 

What is a Corporate Trustee?

People hire corporate trustees to create and manage trusts in a way that best reflects the creator’s wishes and intentions. Corporate trustees work with firms, are bound by fiduciary duties, and have professional experience and impartial expertise in trust issues. 

Because of the nature of their position, corporate trustees are subject to internal regulation, and their lack of personal ties puts them at greater risk of removal. So stealing, diverting, or embezzling trust funds is less common but still may happen occasionally.

When Do You Need a Corporate Trustee Attorney?

To understand when you need a corporate trustee attorney, you must understand the legal responsibilities of a corporate trustee. Every corporate trustee has a fiduciary duty to a trust, and its beneficiaries, which include a:

  • Duty of loyalty
  • Duty to use sophisticated tax-planning techniques
  • Duty of administration
  • Duty to maintain an accounting
  • Duty to enforce and defend claims
  • Duty to communicate and keep all parties reasonably informed
  • Duty of prudent investment
  • Duty to oversee and protect assets
  • Duty of impartiality

When a corporate trustee fails to fulfill these responsibilities and infringes on beneficiary rights, contacting a corporate trustee attorney is essential to preserving the integrity of a trust. 

Common situations trustees get sued over include circumstances that involve:

  • Mishandling or mismanaging assets
  • Self-dealing
  • Conflicts of interest
  • A failure to diversify investments 
  • A failure to strategically plan taxes
  • Improper accounting

Generally, distrust between the corporate trustee and the beneficiaries, creditors, or co-trustees creates prime conditions for a lawsuit. Additionally, a trustee’s relationship with other parties is not necessarily similar to the one they enjoyed with a trust creator.

Alison S. Gokal, a partner at Gokal Law Group and 18-year practicing attorney specializing in trust litigation and probate matters in Orange County courts, clarifies, “Just because the person who created the trust had a close, trusting personal relationship with the trustee doesn’t mean beneficiaries and other parties will have that same faith or enjoy the same congenial dynamic, and this is often at the heart of these disputes.” 

Lastly, people also consult with a corporate trustee attorney because these professionals work for companies that sometimes experience changes like expansion that make beneficiaries feel it resulted in impersonal, unresponsive, or passive trust management. 

Contacting California’s Premier Corporate Trustee Attorney

Are you a corporate trustee being unjustly accused of negligence? Are you a beneficiary who feels a trustee is neglecting their duties? Working with a corporate trustee attorney is imperative. As a trustee, this can have severe repercussions on your professional reputation, and for beneficiaries, this can undermine the integrity of the trust. 

Fortunately, at Gokal Law Group, our team possesses unparalleled expertise and experience representing both trustees and beneficiaries. Call us at (949) 753-9100, or contact us to schedule a consultation.

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