Hess-Verdon & Associates

A Professional Law Corporation

Can co-trustees act independently in California
Request a Case Review Today


Call us at 888-318-4430



California trust law mandates that all co-trustees must act in unison. If the trust document states that co-trustees can act independently, it will supersede. Co trustees who disagree with the trust instrument should contact a trust litigation attorney to bring matters before probate court.

Co trustees have to follow their fiduciary responsibilities. If you are co trustees and find yourself at a crossroads, call a Hess Verdon & Associates legal representative at 888-318-4430. Since 1991, California trustees have had the protection of their legal rights.


Multiple Trustees can manage one trust. Each Trustee has equal power and responsibility. A co-trustee can be described as a joint trustee. There are several responsibilities and duties that co-trustees have:

1. Co-managing Trust assets; inventorying, investing and selling. Reporting

2. How to fill out tax returns

3. Protect trust assets by working with trust attorneys

4. Paying, transferring or lending funds to beneficiaries


If in dispute, contact Hess-Verdon at 888-318-4430.

Does a co trustee have to act alone?

The answer is “No” unless stated otherwise in the Trust document. Where the Trust document doesn’t explicitly state otherwise, the Trustee as well as the co-trustee should take all decisions jointly to expedite the trust administration process. The administration of trusts can become a complicated affair if trustee and co-trustee disputes arise. Trustor/settlors should avoid conflict of interest. If conflicts do arise, assets can be frozen for beneficiaries and Trust can face costly litigation.

Conflicting views between co trustees can lead to problems in co-managing trust assets.

They cannot break up a deadlock simply by acting separately in the case of two trustees. One of the co-trustees doesn’t have the power or authority to handle the trust administration.

Trustee and Conflict with Co-Trustee

Beneficiaries can petition for the removal of one or both co-trustees and the Trustee in court if there is a conflict during trust administration. Removing a co trustee requires court action.

Do you want to be a Trustor.

Trustors might want to think about having multiple trustees appointed by the Trust. These trustees will be independent and can work without signatures. If co trustees can work together, trust administration can be completed in a timely manner. One example is if a trustee is out of town or becomes incapacitated. In this case, the other trustee can continue signing only one signature in order to complete everything and distribute the estate to beneficiaries.

California probate law requires that section 15620 be unanimously acted upon by co-trustees. A specific language should be added by your estate planning attorney to allow actions by each co-trustee.

What’s an Unanimous Action

This section requires “Unanimous actions” if the exact wording of the trust instrument is missing or amended.

What Co Trustees must Do if They Disagree

What happens when the California cotrustees cannot agree? If they cannot agree, any of the cotrustees in California can file a petition to remove one from the trust administration. Imagine you are one among the successor trustees. For the best representation in trust litigation, it is highly recommended that one of your successor trustees call Hess-Verdon & Associates (888-318-4430).

Hess Verdon will offer a second opinion case evaluation to help co-trustees in times of crisis. You’ll learn how to reduce litigation and make sure that the trustors and beneficiaries are satisfied.

Why Choose us Hess-Verdon Law firm?

Our expertise in trust litigation, estate planning, and business law has allowed us more time to prepare and manage your case faster. Our lawyer staff can assist you in attorney client relationship and getting answers to substantive questions and recommendations for settlement strategies or litigation strategy faster and with less research.

Our firm can make a difference in your case!

We are efficient and economical in achieving a results-driven end result!

Hess-Verdon & Associates has been a trusted and highly skilled Trust and Estate lawyer firm. They are experienced in both appellate and trial courts in California. Our firm has years’ experience in trial preparation, strategy, presentation, and litigation to help you with your individual case.

Meet The Team

When Do Co-Trustees Have To Act Jointly In California
When Do Co-Trustees Have To Act Jointly In California

“Definitely a firm that will “fight to the finish.”

Frances Gruben

When Do Co-Trustees Have To Act Jointly In California
“Absolutely top notch firm for handling all your estate planning matters.”
Dean Williams

When Do Co-Trustees Have To Act Jointly In California
“I have been working with this firm since 1994; you can’t beat a firm like this, that is so ethical and competent.”
Dixie Fisher

Call Now