If you have been asked to serve as a trustee of a trust account by a family member or friend in the San Fernando Valley, your first concern may be what sort of consequences you could face should you commit an error during the execution of your duties. Many of those that we here at The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo have worked with who have been named trustees come into the role without any related experience. Fortunately, the California Trust Code recognizes that there may be differences between personal liability and alleged incorrect action performed while fulfilling the role of a trustee.
According to Section 18000 of the California Probate Code, you are generally viewed as not being personally liable for any contracts you may enter into while fulfilling a trustee’s designated fiduciary duties. The same holds true disputes arising from ownership or control of trust property, and even tortious actions committed while administering a trust.
The freedom from liability described above should not prompt you to believe that you can do anything you want as a trustee, however. Any actions in which you are personally at fault could result in your being held liable. Regarding contractual relationships, you could also be deemed liable if you do not state your role as a trustee in a contract.
What if you are a co-trustee, and one or all of your partners is found personally liable for errors in your collective trust administration efforts? If you dissented to the action that resulted in the liability claim, and shared your dissent with your co-trustees in writing prior to the action being taken, you may escape from being considered to be jointly responsible.
More information on your legal rights as a trustee can found by exploring our site further.