Back to the Learning Center

By: Scott Grossman on February 7th, 2018

Understanding Joint and Several Liabilities for Trustees

If your loved one appointed you as a successor trustee of his or her trust, he may have also named a co-trustee to serve alongside you. Often, this is done to allow you to share the responsibilities of administering the trust or to provide some measure of checks and balances to ensure that the trust administration is carried out properly. Regardless of the intent behind it, when two people are appointed to serve as co-trustees, it is important to understand that they may be subject to joint and several liabilities in the event of any wrongdoing. Therefore, it is important to know about the several liabilities for co-trustees

5 Tips Relating to Joint and Several Liabilities for Co-Trustees

What are joint and several liabilities? Essentially, this concept means that each trustee can be held fully liable for the actions of the other. Therefore, if your co-trustee acts improperly, the beneficiaries of the trust can come after you without having an obligation to first seek reparation from the other trustee. To protect yourself, it is crucial to understand the following helpful tips:

  1. Do not rely on the other trustee to administer the trust.
  2. Participate in all aspects of the trust administration.
  3. If you think that the other trustee is acting improperly concerning the administration of the trust, take action to correct the situation. You must make a reasonable inquiry as to whether the other trustee is acting improperly. You also should take proactive measures to protect the beneficiaries.
  4. If votes are taken as to any proposed action or inaction relating to the trust administration, make sure that the votes are in writing and that the provision being voted on is spelled out clearly.
  5. Be careful about the actions that you take. Even if the other trustee was acting wrongfully intentionally, if your negligence allows the other trustee to harm the beneficiaries, you can be held liable.

Dealing with issues relating to trustee wrongdoing is not an easy process. We can help protect your legal rights. We encourage you to learn more by checking out our client testimonials today. If you have any further questions about joint and several liabilities for co-trustees, fill out our quick and easy contact form today. Or call The Grossman Law Firm, APC at (951) 523-8307, it would be our pleasure to further assist you.