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What Is A Trustee’s Standard Of Care?

When you are party to a trust in Woodland Hills, you no doubt have interest in the actions of the trustee. His or her performance in this role could directly affect your interest in the trust’s assets. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to know the basic standards that he or she is required by law to abide by if the question of a potential breach of his or her fiduciary duty were to ever come up.

A trustee’s basic standard of care is detailed in the California Probate Code. It states that the trustee must perform his or her administrative duties with the same care and skill as would be expected from a prudent person performing in a similar capacity. Additionally, all of his or her actions should be executed with same purpose in mind: accomplishing the purposes and goals of the trust.

These aims are outlined in the trust instrument. For example, if it’s stated that the trust is to produce income for you or other beneficiaries over time, then the trustee is expected to carry out that purpose. Even in the event that you recommend investment vehicles to him or her that you believe will result in significant gains, he or she may not be obliged to follow that advice if he or she believes it to be too risky to meet the goal of generating a reliable income stream (even though you may be the beneficiary of those investments).

The settlor of your trust may set certain express provisions that the trustee is to follow. As long as the trustee continues to operate in good faith to adhere to those provisions, he or she may not be held liable to you or other beneficiaries even if they result in a reduction of assets.