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By: Scott Grossman on June 18th, 2018

Options for What to Do When a Trustee Stops Paying Taxes

Trustees who forget or neglect to pay federal or state taxes could cause harm to the principal of the trust. Ultimately, this means that the beneficiaries will suffer harm, as well. Estate taxes that are paid late could be subject to interest and fees in addition to the actual tax itself. Had the trustee fulfilled all of his or her fiduciary duties, these extra costs would likely never have existed. Furthermore, what can a beneficiary do if this occurs?

The following is an overview:

  1. First of all, seek the removal of the trustee if you are concerned about the safeguarding of trust assets.
  2. Additionally, seek fiduciary surcharge, where the trustee is ordered to pay back the lost money out of his or her personal finances.
  3. Lastly, get the probate court involved as oversight of the trust administration process if they are not already a part of it.

Your first step after realizing that the trustee of a trust of which you are a beneficiary should be to contact an attorney. Pursuing a claim for funds as a result of the negligence of a trustee is not an easy process.

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  • Probate (noun): The process of proving in court that the will of a person who has died is valid. It involves proving before a competent judicial authority that a document offered for official recognition and registration as the last will and testament of a deceased person is genuine. Not all wills must go through this in California. See our infographic to help you determine if your loved one’s estate must go through probate.
  • Beneficiary (noun): A person who benefits from a trust, will, or life insurance policy. This includes heir, heiress, inheritor, legatee; recipient, receiver, payee, donee, assignee; devisee, grantee.


If you are ready to start your case, then please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form. A comprehensive overview of California Probate is available here. Should you have additional questions about trust litigation, you will find plenty of useful information in our Learning Center.