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Trustee Accountability | When Requests for an Accounting Fail

Trustee Accountability in California Probate Law

Most parts of everyday life and business occur informally and without the need for active administrative or judicial enforcement mechanisms. We follow traffic laws and know that if we don't that we can be cited for speeding or whatever other violations we commit. We fill up our cars and assume that the gas pump counting the gallons purchased is correct. There are so many things that we do without third-party enforcement unless someone messes up.

This is the way trust accounting works. Informal trust accountings without court oversight are an everyday occurrence. A Probate Court Petition to compel a trustee to account goes beyond the everyday informal accountings. It is filed by a beneficiary when a trustee fails to provide the beneficiary with an account. The typical situation is like this:

"Brother" is the named trustee in a trust created by "Father." You are a beneficiary of the trust along with brother. Father passes away. Brother takes over all of father's assets that were held in trust. Brother refuses to provide you with information on the trust. You hire an estate planning attorney who is not a litigator to write brother letters. Lots of letters are written and nothing - nothing at all is accounted for. You decide to hold your brother accountable.

You hire a trust, estate and probate litigation law firm like Hackard Law. Hackard Law files a Probate Court petition to compel the brother to account. There might be a number of other requests in addition to the accounting. In any event, we will seek a court order to force the trustee to prepare and file an account of the trust with the court. The court specifies the beginning date of the accounting. Attorney's fees are also sought.

If the trustee fails to account, then the remedies against the trustee include contempt, the removal of the trustee, transfer of records and surcharge of the trustee.

It's not all that hard to do a petition for accounting. A wronged beneficiary may choose to have a court order for an accounting - an effective solution to a series of broken promises by a trustee who may be covering up wrongdoing by failing to account.

If you're a beneficiary who's been wronged by a trustee and you need your rights protected, you can call us at Hackard Law. We have deep experience in safeguarding the interests of abused beneficiaries and obtaining recovery for them through litigation or settlement. If you remember one thing, it's that our clients come first. You can call us at 916-313-3030.

Trustee Accountability | When Requests for an Accounting Fail from Hackard Law on Vimeo.

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