Select Page

A Professional Law Corporation

Suing a Trustee for Breach
Request a Case Review Today

 

Call us at 949-706-7300

Contact UsATTORNEY PROFILES
Trustee Lawsuit

Can a Beneficiary Sue a Trustee

Yes, a beneficiary can sue a trustee for breach, but be aware, a judge will only entertain it if you have used reasonable care and allowing time for the trustee to respond. Transparency and bookkeeping will be the primary focus. Fiduciary duty calls out to be transparent and gives updates to beneficiaries and heirs.

Receiving updates?  If not, read on.

 

Beneficiary Suing the Trustee of a Trust

HESS-VERDON – #1 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TRUST & ESTATE LAW FIRM

(DEEP BENCH COURT TIME)

Can a beneficiary sue a trustee?

The question typically asked is as follows: “can a beneficiary sue a Trustee?” The simple answer is Yes, you can sue a trustee of a trust if you feel they breached their fiduciary duty, but remember, there are a few crucial factors you should consider before attempting to incur cost and time.

What happens if a trustee does not follow the trust?

Suing a trustee of a trust is possible as long as you are a beneficiary or heir and you feel beneficiary rights to information is compromised. When the Trustor dies and leaves a Trust, a trustee is designated to manage the wishes of the Trustor. There are many responsibilities that the Trustee will have to address, such as attaining death certificates, understanding all assets, and manage them, so pilferage does not take place.  Learn more here regarding the differences between a trustee and beneficiary.

Suing a Trustee of a Trust for breach of fiduciary duty

The first crucial step is to make sure you have a case against the trustee and can prove a breach of fiduciary duty. There is much reason why a beneficiary will sue a trustee. A primary reason to petition to remove a trustee is due to a lack of transparency and estate asset management. Suing a Trustee will be held in the city court location based on the trust locality.

Now, to sue a Trustee, you have to prove the Trustee breached their fiduciary duty. The fiduciary duty includes many possibilities, including the following:

  1. The Trustee is refusing to give an accounting to the beneficiaries.
  2. Did the Trustee mishandle the estate funds?
  3. The Trustee is not communicative and refusing to fulfill a beneficiary request for information
  4. Is the Trustee self-dealing? Are they putting their interest before the beneficiaries

Suing a Trustee of a Trust

The first crucial step of a trustee lawsuit is to make sure you have a case against the trustee and can prove a breach of fiduciary duty. There is much reason why a beneficiary will sue a trustee. A primary reason to petition to remove a trustee is due to a lack of transparency and estate asset management. Suing a Trustee will be held in the city court location based on the trust locality.

Now, to sue a Trustee, you have to prove the Trustee breached their fiduciary duty. The fiduciary duty includes many possibilities, including the following:

  1. The Trustee is refusing to give an accounting to the beneficiaries.
  2. Did the Trustee mishandle the estate funds?
  3. The Trustee is not communicative and refusing to fulfill a beneficiary request for information
  4. Is the Trustee self-dealing? Are they putting their interest before the beneficiaries

How to Sue a Trust

Now, as a beneficiary, you have to make sure you are reasonable for allowing the Trustee to meet timeframes, etc.

  • For example: Within 60 days after taking the responsibility of the Trust, the Trustee shall give notice to the qualified beneficiaries of the acceptance and their full name and address of the Trustee. 
  • Within 60 days once the Trustee requires knowledge of the creation of the irrevocable Trust, whether they learned it by the death of the settlor or any other means, the Trustee shall give notice of the identity of the settlor, a right to request a copy of the trust instrument, and the right to an accounting. 

Now, if the Trustee feels they have been reasonable and have been meeting the objectives of the Trustee, you will need to go to court to prove the breach of fiduciary duty. See: Can a Trustee remove a beneficiary from a trust

How to Sue an Estate

So, the Trustee can and will use the funds of the Trust to defend themselves in the trust litigation process. Therefore write a letter or email to the Trustee of your objections. Explain your objections. When writing to the Trustee to act reasonably, and if they don’t, you will look reasonable to the court. Then find an estate litigation attorney and pursue your rights.

Moreover, if you are considering to sue the Trustee of the Trust, there are a few things to know.  

Legal action by a beneficiary may result in the following:

  1. Remove the Trustee(s)
  2. Replace the Trustee(s)
  3. Possibly terminate the Trust:
  4. Obtain proper distributions of Trust Assets to Beneficiaries and heirs

Hess-Verdon & Associates is one of the leading California estate planning law firms involved in litigation regarding wills, trusts, and estates. Estate litigation is one of our primary focuses and accounts for much of our work in court, and our track record in litigation is both extensive and impressive.  

Our knowledgeable and aggressive courtroom representation is necessary to ensure family members, executors, trustees, beneficiaries, and others maintain the grantor’s wishes.

Meet The Team

Contesting a Trust in California

Suing a Trustee of Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

If a Beneficiary wants to sue a Trustee of a Trust, you as a beneficiary should first allow for “reasonable” time for the Trustee to respond. If you have legal action, then it is necessary to compel the Trustee for transparency of the bookkeeping, receipts and more. There are many legal actions a beneficiary can take to remove, replace or terminate the Trustee. Now, the Trustee can be held personally liable should loss of the estate takes place.

Meet the Hess-Verdon Law Firm Serving Southern California Residents

Located in Southern California, Newport Beach.
With over 30+ years of law, 3000+ clients throughout our tenure,
you can receive in-depth legal counsel today.

Contact us here!

Jillyn Hess-Verdon

Managing Partner

R. Kurt Ketchum

Partner 

 

Blaine M. Brown

Associate Attorney

Ryan W. Young

Senior Litigation Attorney

Meet the Hess-Verdon Law Firm Serving Southern California Residents

Located in Southern California, Newport Beach.
With over 30+ years of law, 1500+ clients throughout our tenure,
you can receive in-depth legal counsel today.

Contact us here!

Jillyn Hess-Verdon

Managing Partner

R. Kurt Ketchum

Associate Attorney

Blaine M. Brown

Associate Attorney

Receive peace of mind today

In need of legal counsel?
Deadlines approaching on an estate matter?

Don’t get caught off guard and receive a second opinion.

Start below and receive an answer today! Need Immediate attention, please call 949-706-7300

 You will receive a call shortly.  If after hours, we will contact you the next business morning!