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May 2, 2022 by |

San Francisco Trusts And Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Trustee Misappropriation Of Trust Funds

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Trustee Standard Of Duty

Demands For Information And Accounting

Removal And Enhanced Remedies 

Trusts are used by many people, especially seniors and dependent adults, as important tools for managing and protecting assets and estate planning following death.  Sometimes the individual creating the trust (known as the settlor) serves as their own trustee, but often the trustee is another individual.  Individuals serving as trustees for others are held to a strict level of responsibility known as a fiduciary duty. The misappropriation of trust funds by a trustee is a breach of that duty and makes them personally liable for the property misappropriated.  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).

Demand For Accounting

Under California Probate Code §16062, trustees must account to each beneficiary at least annually, at the termination of the trust, and upon a change of trustee. California Probate Code §16063 requires that the accounting include:

  • A statement of receipts and disbursements of principal and income that have occurred.
  • A statement of the assets and liabilities of the trust.
  • The trustee’s compensation.
  • The agents hired by the trustee, their relationship to the trustee, if any, and their compensation.

Trustees must provide an accounting within 60 days if a trust beneficiary demands an accounting in writing. Probate Code § 17200(b)(7)(B).  Trustees who have misappropriated funds may delay in providing an accounting or produce an incomplete form of an accounting.  Delays, incomplete data or failure to provide bank statements and other back-up financial information are all red flags of misappropriation of funds or other breaches of the trustee’s fiduciary duty.

Removal And Financial Elder Abuse Remedies

Civil remedies for breach of a trustee’s duty are provided under the Probate Code, including surcharge of the trustee and removal from office, and return to the trust of twice the value of the property taken.  Cal. Probate Code §§ 17200 et seq. and 15642; Probate Code § 859 (double damages).  Even greater remedies are available under the Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Act.  The abusive trustee, and anyone assisting him or her such as an attorney, may be liable for financial elder or dependent adult 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 or dependent adult may also be entitled to extra (punitive) 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).

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