Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo  Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo
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How can one ensure the duties of a trustee are fulfilled?

Assuming the role of trustee for a trust created by a family member, friend or colleague in Woodland Hills is a huge responsibility, and certainly not a request you should consider fulfilling without first dedicating a significant amount of thought and care to it. By accepting such a responsibility, you assume a number of duties, both to the settlor and to the beneficiaries of the trust. To ensure that that you put forth your best effort in completing your duties as a trustee, interested parties to the trust may require a performance or surety bond.

Such a bond is secured by a guarantor who agrees to pay any designated obligees (most likely to be the trust beneficiaries, in this case) if you fail to fulfill your duties as trustee. According to the California Probate Code, it is only required that you (as the trustee) acquire such a bond in the following situations:

  •          If it is specifically mandated in the trust instrument.
  •          If the court believes that it is necessary to protect the interests of the trust’s settlor, its beneficiaries, or any other interested parties.
  •          If you were not named as the trustee by the trust instrument, but rather appointed to that role by the court.

If you have been appointed as the trustee by the court, it can excuse the requirement of a performance bond, but only under compelling circumstances. Such circumstances could be met if all adult beneficiaries of the trust agree to excuse the need for a surety.

The required amount of the bond is determined by the court, and its cost will be charged to the trust’s assets. 

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