Trustee Rights and Beneficiary Rights



Who Has More Right a Trustee or the Beneficiary

When it comes to the rights of the Trustee and Beneficiary, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each party. 

The Trustee, who may also be a beneficiary, has the rights to the assets but also has a fiduciary duty to maintain, which, if not done incorrectly, can lead to a contesting of the Trust.

Who has more right a Trustee or the Beneficiary

With that said, let’s go over the “rights” of a Trustee and afterward, the “rights” of the Beneficiaries and the options to lose your rights should you act in an untimely manner!

Trust Beneficiary Rights

In a Trustee Beneficiary relationship, the beneficiary rights to information in a Trust are as follows:

  1. The Trustee must provide a copy of the Trust to the Beneficiary. It is one of the legal rights of the Trust Beneficiaries. Probate code 16065.1
  2. The Trustee must update all beneficiaries and heirs when there is a change of Trustee.
  3. The Trustee must keep the beneficiaries of the Trust reasonably informed of the Trust and its administration. Probate code 166060
  4. The Trustee has 60 days to notify Beneficiaries on “knowledge of the death” of the Trustor to identify the identity of the settlor(s) of the Trust and the date of execution of the Trust instrument.
  5. The Trustee is to give their name, address, telephone number of each Trustee of the Trust.
  6. The Trustee is to give additional information that may have been expressly required by the terms of the Trust.
  7. Beneficiaries have the right to petition the courts to remove the Trustee if they believe they have been self-dealing, lack of transparency, bookkeeping issues, etc..

What rights does a trust beneficiary have against the Trustee?  To keep the Trustee transparent in all their actions by pursuing your beneficiary rights to Trust Information.

Please contact a Hess-Verdon attorney who is well versed with the above probate code, including other information and accounts to Beneficiaries. Call: 1-888-318-4430

Rights of Trust Beneficiaries

As a beneficiary, you have rights! As a beneficiary, you can also lose your rights. How? If you review probate code 16061.8, it states that once notice is served, you may bring an action to contest the Trust within 120 days from the date of notification by the Trustee or 60 days from the time you, the Beneficiary received a copy of the terms of the Trust.

Trust Trustees Rights

When it comes to Trustees’ rights, it breaks down to the Trust Instrument and living up to their fiduciary duties. The objective of a Trustee: Keep the Irrevocable Trust out of litigation. The way a Trustee stays out of litigation is through transparency. Therefore, be transparent, keep beneficiaries and heirs reasonably up-to-date, and know and understand the pitfalls of Trustee actions.

So with that said, the Trustee of an estate has built-in rights from the courts to complete the following. (not an exhaustive list)

  1. The Trustee has the right to represent the estate for legal purposes:  The Trustee can hire an estate attorney, petition courts, and attend court proceedings if needed.
  2. Trust has the right to manage the affairs and expense of the decedent’s estate:  The Trustee can receive payment for work performed to manage any debts and expenses and to collect receivables, appraisals, and an assortment of Trust administration duties.
  3. The Trustee has the right to contact government institutions:  Trustees can obtain information such as an Employee Identification Number for the estate from the IRS.
  4. The Trustee has the right to issue notifications on behalf of the Trust:  Trustee can create public notices, prepare any records, statements, and tax returns.
  5. The Trustee has the right to invest the Trust assets: If applicable, the Trustees can make sure assets are preserved and productive for current and future beneficiaries.
  6. A Trustee is considered the legal owner of all assets. Trustees can have a legal say, for example, if a beneficiary is occupying a trust property. 

As a Trustee, it’s a duty that comes with a lot of responsibilities and unfortunately, periodic questioning from Beneficiaries. The irrevocable Trust Beneficiary rights are first and foremost of the Trust Administration process.


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If I’m a Trustee, do I get paid? (trustee fee)

Trustee compensation is possible, yet ambiguities lie within the courts. If you look at probate code It states that a trustee is entitled “reasonable compensation.” Now, if you have breached any fiduciary duty, based on probate code: You could pay back any trustee compensation because of a breach of trust.

Now, what is reasonable compensation? (Here are some examples)

  • Private Trustees: Typically paid an hourly rate ($20.00 to $45.00 per hour)
  • Corporate Trustees: Typically paid 1% to 2% of the Trust Assets.
  • Professional Trustees: Due to their experience up an above a private trustee, a professional trustee compensation is an hourly fee of over $110.00+ per hour for their work.

What is “ordinary compensation” vs. “extraordinary compensation”?

The courts will typically distinguish between ordinary and extraordinary compensation. Here is a partial breakdown of the differences:

  • Ordinary compensation: Expected duties to be performed by a Trustee.
  • Extraordinary compensation: 
  • Handling litigation
  • Running a business
  • Managing commercial property

Trustee Removal

Are you a Trustee or Beneficiary where protection of the Trustors wishes are being challenged and causing family disputes?

Develop strategies on preempting a Trust dispute and discover What You Need to Know About the Trustee Removal Process

Hess Verdon has a deep bench and knows both sides of the equation to remove or suspend a Trustee or to safeguard the Trustee from a frivolous legal process. Hess-Verdon top litigators will help you stay on track!


Contact Us Green A Guide: Who Has More Right a Trustee or the Beneficiary

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(949) 706-7300

Beneficiary is attacking me

Attacked by a beneficiary who objects to how you, a Trustee, or Administrator, is handling an estate?

Prevent Trustees from Making Some Common Mistakes. 

Duties | Delays | Choices | Distributions

Timing on each one is critical to avoid litigation

Hess-Verdon has over 30 years of dealing with Beneficiary and trustee disputes. Let us review your situation. You’ll be glad you did. Contact us for a No Charge, No-Obligation Consultation.

Contact Us Green A Guide: Who Has More Right a Trustee or the Beneficiary

 or Call Now

(949) 706-7300

Contesting a Trust

 Are You Considering Contesting a Trust or the most recent amendment? Was there a capacity issue or undue influence?

Be Careful when contesting a trust and know the elements it takes to protect the trust assets. Reserve your rights before Statute of limitations happen!

Hess-Verdon works hard to resolve Trust and Estate issues and preserve the estate by minimizing costly litigation. Contact us for a No Charge, No-Obligation Consultation.


Contact Us Green A Guide: Who Has More Right a Trustee or the Beneficiary

 or Call Now

(949) 706-7300

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