Trustee De Facto and De Son Tort in CA: Understanding the Difference

When a person wastes or harms assets of a trust, beneficiaries may have a legal claim against that person. A person committing breach is sued under several theories. One such theory is by virtue of being appointed trustee of the trust. They can also be sued by being deemed a trustee de facto or trustee de son tort. Understanding the difference between a trustee de facto and de son tort is important. Fortunately, an experienced Riverside trust litigation attorney can help you to determine your claim and protect your legal rights.

California probate and common law defines a trustee de facto and de son tort as follows:

  • A trustee de facto is a person who has at least some type of claim to be a trustee, who acts like a trustee, and who seeks the benefits of being a trustee.
  • A trustee de son tort is a person who has no authority to act as trustee but intermeddles with trust property anyway.

The distinction is important because a trustee de facto has different rights than that of a trustee de son tort. These differences will impact your California probate litigation matter. The guidance of an experienced attorney will help ensure that you are filing the proper action in the proper manner. Our article Riverside County New Rules for Filing Probate and Trust Litigation describes additional factors to consider when filing a claim.

Contact an experienced probate attorney in Riverside today at (888) 443-6590 for a free consultation.

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307

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