Trust Administration Attorneys in Pleasanton Ensuring You Understand Your Rights and Fiduciary Responsibilities When Managing a Trust
A trust is a private, third-party agreement that protects a person’s finances, assets, guardianship, and medical decisions. As a trustee, accepting the role of managing a trust administration includes specific fiduciary responsibilities related to the duty of care, loyalty, good faith, and confidentiality of the decedent and beneficiaries of the trust.
It’s important to know your rights, state rules, and protocol when stepping into the trustee position—a task our Pleasanton trust administration lawyers can help with to prevent internal family turmoil and legal trouble, such as a potential lawsuit.
Trustees must always follow the terms of the trust and are personally accountable for how the trust is managed, according to the written agreement and wishes of the decedent. Decarli Law can help you translate the legal contract, work through any disputes, and provide representation should your actions be questioned.
Prevent any legal issues and contact Decarli Law today to answer your trust-related questions or resolve any trust administration issues. Call: 925-568-2350.
What Does Fiduciary Mean?
A fiduciary is a person or professional organization that acts on behalf of another person, always keeping their best interests in mind.
In the instance of a trust, the decedent—or owner of the trust—assigns a person to manage the trust administration on their behalf when they can no longer. A trust kicks in if a person becomes incapacitated or in death.
The trustee has fiduciary duties to uphold when executing and managing the trust as outlined in the original legal agreement. With the position, a trustee with fiduciary duties must administer the trust as intended, act reasonably, make conservative decisions, communicate with all beneficiaries, and ensure all functions are taken care of properly.
Can My Trustee Responsibilities Be Revoked?
We can’t emphasize the importance of following your trustee responsibilities as outlined and in compliance with state law. There are implications if a trustee negligently manages a trust, and their responsibilities can be revoked if there are grounds to do so.
If a beneficiary or beneficiaries feel the trustee is mismanaging the trust, they can petition the court to review the trustee’s actions and decisions. The court has the power to remove a trustee if there is enough evidence of negligent behavior. This is considered discharge, and the other way to remove a trustee is in the event of their death.
There are many reasons a beneficiary might desire the removal of a trustee,including poor trust performance, mismanagement or lack of management, reckless decision-making, or the influence of personal decisions.
Are Trustees Personally Liable?
Trustees are personally liable for any losses sustained by the trust due to negligent behavior and if they are found in breach of their fiduciary duties. Acting as a fiduciary is the highest legal obligation, and if a trustee decides to make poor decisions for their gains, they could face severe legal penalties.
Beneficiaries can pursue a lawsuit if they believe a trustee is failing to manage the property, is paying taxes late, is showing preferential treatment to a beneficiary, is stealing or embezzling funds, or avoiding conflicts of interest, among other things.
If convicted of these crimes, a trustee can be forced to pay damages, court costs, and attorney fees, and in other, more severe cases—if the case goes to criminal court—a trustee can face jail time. Under California law, a trustee that steals assets worth $950 or less might result in misdemeanor charges. In contrast, anything above $950 could result in up to three years in jail and felony charges.
Can a Trust Lawyer Help Me Avoid a Lawsuit?
The more knowledge you have regarding your trustee responsibilities ahead of time, the better equipped you are to avoid a lawsuit or litigation. Assuming the role of trustee is the best time to consult a trust administration lawyer like Decarli Law—before a costly problem occurs.
We can help you prepare for your role and represent you if you are being sued or accused of misconduct.
From education to trust administration management to legal representation, Decarli Law can help you seamlessly manage a trust and save hundreds—sometimes thousands of dollars—as fiduciary duties can be complex, time-sensitive, and delicate.
Be proactive and consult our Californian estate lawyers with Decarli Law today. Call us for a free consultation: at 925-568-2350.