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By: Scott Grossman on April 10th, 2018

Trustee Theft: What evidence do I need to support my claim?

Do You Believe Trustee Theft has Occurred?

Under California trust law, trustees have a fiduciary duty to act in good faith concerning the management of trust assets. When a trustee misappropriates funds from the trust for his or her own benefit or the benefit of another, he or she is committing trustee theft. Trustee theft has a financially and emotionally devastating effect on the beneficiaries of the trust. Fortunately, if the trustee theft can be proven, there are remedies available to beneficiaries under the law.

To succeed on a claim for trustee theft, you must prove to the court that the theft occurred. An experienced trust attorney can assist you in gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim.

Examples of what the attorney may do to prove trustee theft:

  • First of all, request copies of the trust instrument and all amendments, if you do not already have them
  • Also, request the tax returns for the trust for each year the trust has been in existence
  • Request copies of bank statements for the trust bank account
  • Additionally, request the accounting statements for the trust for each year the trust has been in existence
  • Hire a professional to conduct an audit of the trust assets
  • Request that the trustee post a bond to protect the financial interests of the beneficiaries
  • Generate a history of any disbursements that you have received thus far in the California trust administration process
  • Furthermore, prepare a list of all assets that you believe were held by the trust
  • Lastly, hire a professional to analyze what would have happened had the trustee not stolen assets from the trust

Key Terms –

  • Trust (noun):

An organization (ie: a bank) can manage the money or property in a trust usually at a set period of time. They are managed by Trustees and are set up to help better serve the beneficiary’s interests. It is a legal document that tells the Trustee how to specifically handle the money and assets on behalf of the beneficiary according to the Trust’s wishes.

  • Bond (noun):

A safeguard for the Beneficiaries or Heirs of an Estate from any wrongdoing by the Administrator or Executor that must be in place before the Court grants authority to act on behalf of the Estate. This is similar to an insurance policy, and once the Estate closes the Administrator or Executor may Petition the Court for reimbursement for the premium on the Bond.


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.