Trustee Duties – Duty of Care

Trustee Duties Duty of Care

Welcome back to our insightful 4-part series on Trustee Duties. In this series, we’ve been delving into the significant legal responsibilities trustees hold in managing a trust. Previously, we discussed the crucial duty of loyalty and its importance in prioritizing the beneficiaries’ best interests. Today, let’s explore another vital aspect: the duty of care. Our extensive experience in trust litigation reveals a common trend: many trustees inadvertently falter in their management, leading to detrimental consequences for beneficiaries. On the other hand, some trustees, despite their diligent efforts, find themselves in legal disputes, underscoring the need for proficient legal representation. Max Alavi, Attorney at Law, APC, with his esteemed expertise in trust litigation, is ideally positioned to guide trustees through such complex scenarios.

Understanding the Trustee’s Fiduciary Duty of Care According to California Law

What exactly entails the trustee fiduciary duty of care? The California Probate Code, particularly sections 16040 and 16014, addresses this duty. Section 16040 mandates trustees to administer the trust with reasonable care and skill, aligning with the trust’s goals. Further, section 16014 requires trustees with specialized skills, like lawyers or accountants, to apply their professional knowledge in trust management.

A notable case study highlighting these principles is the Estate of Gump from 1991. In this instance, Wells Fargo Bank, acting as a trustee for several trusts established by Abraham L. Gump, was responsible for managing leased real property. The bank’s failure to exercise due care in managing the trust, including overlooking rent statement errors and record-keeping lapses, led to underpaid rent and deprived beneficiaries of their rightful benefits. The California court ruled this as a breach of the bank’s fiduciary duty of care.

Navigating Trust Litigation: Protecting Your Rights as a Trustee or Beneficiary

If you find yourself in the position of a trust beneficiary who suspects possible mismanagement by your trustee, or if you are a trustee facing difficulties in administering your responsibilities, it is of utmost importance to seek specialized legal guidance. Acquiring the services of a dedicated legal team is not a luxury but a necessity in these circumstances. A firm such as Max Alavi, Attorney at Law, APC, which has garnered recognition for its exceptional work and comprehensive experience in trust litigation, stands as an invaluable ally. Their acumen in navigating the intricacies of trust law has been honed over years of dedicated practice, earning them numerous accolades.