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.