What is a breach of trust?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2016 | Trust Administration |

Those in Woodland Hills who have been asked to serve as trustees may be endowed with a significant amount of power regarding an estate’s assets. What happens if they abuse that power? As a beneficiary of a trust, you typically are required to respect the terms of the trust article regarding how assets are to be distributed. At the same time, you are also an interested party to the trust, and thus have a significant concern over how the actions of a trustee may influence your interest in it. Whether or she knows it or not, a trustee owes a duty of care to you. A violation of that duty could be justification for legal action.

According to Section 16400 of the California Probate Code, you, as a beneficiary, could consider any violation of a trustee’s duties to you as a breach of trust. Should such a thing occur, the solutions available to remedy such a breach are listed in Section 16420 of the CPC. They include:

  •          Compelling the trustee to perform the duties that he or she may be neglecting.  
  •          To enjoin the trustee from continuing to commit the breach.
  •          Compelling the trust to compensate you for the loss suffered due to his or her actions.
  •          To temporality shift possession of the trust property to another.
  •          To withhold or reduce the trustee’s compensation.
  •          To remove the trustee altogether.

This statute also may allow you the authority to take action to recover trust property wrongfully disposed of by the trustee, to impose a lien on that property, or to set aside the trustee’s acts altogether. You should keep in mind, however, that there are certain scenarios where a breach of trust committed by an agent of the trustee may excuse him or her from liability. 


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