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By: Scott Grossman on September 15th, 2016

San Diego Probate Attorney Provides Breach of Trust Overview

If you are the beneficiary of a trust in San Diego and you suspect that the trustee is acting improperly, you may be dealing with a breach of trust. Understanding what this means is the first step in protecting your legal interests. The following is an overview of the breach of trust in California.

What is a breach of trust?

A California breach of trust occurs when a trustee breaches a duty that the trustee owes to a beneficiary. Any of the following can constitute a breach of trust:

  • When the trustee acts in bad faith, engaging in intentional wrongdoing
  • When the trustee acts negligently
  • When the trustee knowingly breaches a duty, even when the act is done in good faith
  • When the trustee acts outside of the scope of the power granted in the trust instrument, even where a reasonable misunderstanding exists

What are the duties of a trustee?

Understanding the duties of the trustee is an important step in determining whether a breach of trust has occurred. Generally, the duties of a trustee are as follows:

  • Duty to administer the trust in accordance with its terms, unless such terms are inconsistent with California trust law
  • Duty to administer the trust in accordance with the California Probate Code
  • Duty of loyalty to the beneficiaries, which requires the trustee to consider and act in their best interests
  • Duty of care to the beneficiaries, which requires the trustee to act in good faith and with reasonable discretion and intelligence
  • Duty of impartiality to the beneficiaries, which requires the trustee to treat all beneficiaries fairly and equally
  • Duty not to delegate, which requires the trustee to be actively involved in the administration of the trust

What should I do next?

If you have reason to believe that the trustee over the trust to which you are a beneficiary has committed a breach of trust, it is also vital that you contact an experienced San Diego probate lawyer to protect your interests.

To learn more about a breach of trust, contact us today to discuss your legal options.