A trust is created by a benefactor for the purposes of preserving assets and property for the future of their designated beneficiaries. The creator of the trust will assign a trustee to administer the trust for the beneficiaries. A trust can be made before or after the death of the benefactor.

The trustee of a California trust has many responsibilities, none more important than fulfilling the requirements of the trust they have been appointed to manage and remaining loyal to the interests of the beneficiaries. If a trustee does not meet their obligations, legal remedies can be taken to suspend or remove the trustee from their post.

What Does a Trustee Do?

The trustee holds, manages, and administers the property, assets, and/or finances of a trust for the benefit of the trust’s designated beneficiaries. A trustee is held to a standard of care that asks of him or her to act with reasonable care, skill, and caution to uphold and seek to accomplish the set goals of a trust. If a trustee has special skills, they must put those skills into practice for the benefit of the trust.

There are many things to consider when choosing a trustee. Knowing all of their duties is paramount to making the right decisions. It is highly recommended to consult a lawyer when choosing, funding, drafting, and legalizing a trust.

What Duties Does a Trustee Owe to a Beneficiary in California?

The full reach of a trustee’s responsibilities is bound by the signed trust agreement and California law. The following is a list of duties that a trustee should be asked to uphold:

  • Duty of Disclosure
  • Duty of Impartiality
  • Duty to Invest
  • Duty of Loyalty
  • Duty Not to Delegate
  • Duty to Account
  • Duty to Avoid Conflicts of Interest
  • Duty to Diversify
  • Duty to Earmark
  • Duty to Enforce or Defend Claims
  • Duty to Keep Trust Assets Separate

If a trustee betrays their duty of loyalty to the trust and its beneficiaries, the trustee must make things right financially and could be taken to court.

Consult a Trust & Estate Attorney in California to Enforce Your Will or Trust

Whether you are building a trust and want to make sure it has the best language therein to meet you and your beneficiary’s needs, or you want to know more about the responsibilities of a trustee while considering their qualifications, or you have an issue with the trustee appointed to your trust, you should seek legal advice.

An experienced will and trust lawyer in California can help you understand all of the complexities of creating a trust and all that comes after.

The Bains Law Offices proudly serve Fresno and the greater Central Valley area, providing its clients with dedicated legal representation.