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Dec 31, 2021 by |

San Francisco Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Beneficiary Recourse Against Trustees Who Steal From A Trust

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Trustee Theft And Other Breaches Of Duty

Removal And Other Remedies 

Elder Abuse Act Remedies For Financial Elder Abuse

Trusts are important estate planning tools to establish distribution of income and assets during life and after death.  The individual creating the trust usually acts as his or her own trustee at the beginning.  The trust typically names others who succeed the settlor as trustees when the settlor is no longer able to act or dies.  Successor trustees may include a surviving spouse, financial advisors, or professional fiduciaries.  A caregiver may convince a senior to name him or her as a successor trustee too. Unfortunately, appointed successors may breach the fiduciary duty they owe by embezzling or commingling funds, moving trust funds around or even out of the trust entirely for their own benefit, borrowing against trust assets, failing to put the trust’s (and settlor/beneficiary’s) interest first, or losing or mismanaging trust property.  Remedies for breach are provided under the Probate Code, and even greater remedies are available under the Elder Abuse Act, as discussed below. Evans Law Firm, Inc. represents beneficiaries who have suffered injury as a result of a trustee’s breach of fiduciary duty.  If you or a loved one has been a victim of a breach of fiduciary duty by a trustee in California, contact us today at (415) 441-8669 and we can help.  Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Examples of Trustee Theft And Other Breaches Of Duty[1]

CPA Embezzles $55 Million from Family

An Illinois certified public accountant was charged with criminal fraud for allegedly embezzling at least $55 million from a Chicago family and its related business entities, including trusts established for charitable giving and to provide for the large family.

Financial Advisor Embezzles $500,000 from Elderly Clients

A financial advisor was charged with felony embezzlement charges for allegedly stealing more than $500,000 from a trust fund where he was the appointed trustee for two elderly

Caregiver Embezzles $157,000 from Disabled Daughter’s Trust Set Up by Parents

A caregiver/trustee pleaded guilty to bank fraud and filing false tax returns related to her embezzlement of $156,949.75 between 2009 and 2015 from a trust established by the victim’s parents to pay the medical expenses for their daughter, who was totally disabled with multiple sclerosis.

Caregiver Embezzles $172,000 from Elderly Man with Dementia

A California caregiver convinced a 92-year-old man to make her his trustee and then allegedly stole $172,000 from the trust.  She pleaded guilty to theft and financial elder abuse The victim’s living trust held all his savings, his home, his annuity and his life insurance, according to authorities.

Removal And Financial Elder Abuse Remedies

California Probate Code Section 16420 allows an injured party:

(1) To compel the trustee to perform the trustee’s duties.

(2) To enjoin the trustee from committing a breach of trust.

(3) To compel the trustee to redress a breach of trust by payment of money or otherwise.

(4) To appoint a receiver or temporary trustee to take possession of the trust property and administer the trust.

(5) To remove the trustee.

(6) Subject to Section 18100, to set aside acts of the trustee.

(7) To reduce or deny compensation of the trustee.

(8) Subject to Section 18100, to impose an equitable lien or a constructive trust on trust property.

(9) Subject to Section 18100, to trace trust property that has been wrongfully disposed of and recover the property or its proceeds.

Even broader remedies are available against the offending trustee under the California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (“Elder Abuse Act”), Welf. & Inst. Code § 15600 et seq.  The abusive trustee, and anyone assisting him or her such as an attorney, may be liable for financial elder abuse as defined under the Elder Abuse Act.  Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code 15610.30.  Under that statute, the court awards mandatory attorneys’ fees and costs to the injured senior under certain circumstances. Cal. Welf. & inst. Code § 15657.5. The senior may also be entitled to extra damages in certain instances.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a breach of fiduciary duty by a trustee in San Francisco or elsewhere in California or, contact Ingrid Evans s at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

[1] Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in any of these reported cases.

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