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By: Scott Grossman on August 27th, 2016

Six Steps For Dealing With A Trustee Who Ignores Trust Terms



During a trust administration, occasionally beneficiaries may encounter a trustee who is simply uncooperative. When an uncooperative trustee refuses to comply with the terms of the trust as they are writing in the trust document, those beneficiaries have a right to take legal action. Beneficiaries are not merely subject to the whim of the trustee. Beneficiaries have legal rights that are designed to protect their interests with regard to the trust assets.

Six Steps for Responding to a Trustee Who Will Not Comply With the Trust Terms

So what should you do when a trustee refuses to comply with the terms of a trust? First, it is important to contact an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Your legal representative can assess the unique facts and circumstances surrounding your matter and help to make a recommendation as to the best course of action.

When court involvement is required, the following is a general overview of how things may proceed:

  1. File a petition with the San Diego probate court to compel the trustee to comply with the terms of the trust.
  2. The court will assess whether the trustee is in fact complying with the trust terms.
  3. If the court grants your request, the trustee will be given an order requiring him to perform certain acts that are outlined in the trust document.
  4. The trustee will have only a specified amount of time to complete these actions.
  5. If the trustee still will not comply, the court could hold him in contempt.
  6. If the trustee continues to refuse to comply, the court may also remove the trustee from his position.

During an estate administration, a trustee’s failure to comply with the trust terms is just one reason that beneficiaries may find themselves in court. Our article, “Five Reasons an Heir Might Challenge a California Will,” lists additional reasons that could result in estate litigation.

Did you find this article helpful? Share it with your friends and family on Facebook!  Someone you care about may be dealing with an uncooperative trustee and not sure of where to turn.

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The Grossman Law Firm, APC (951) 523-8307