California Probate Law - What to do if Trustee has failed his fiduciary Duties ?

Asked about 2 years ago - Portland, OR

We cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars for Court. We want to keep things simple. Trustee did not lodge Fathers Will, Trustee is denying existence of a Will.
Trustee has passed on his duties to his brother. That brother has given away trust property.
Now they sold the house and we are very worried.
What can we do to get our case back in front of the Probate Judge.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. 5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If it's a question of California law, you should re-post this in the California section, rather than Oregon. In any case, though, the answer is likely to be the same: you'll need to consult with an attorney in private (a California-licensed attorney, if the matter is occurring there). There are severe limits on the ability of anyone to solve these problems based solely on the very limited information here.

    Please read the following notice:

    Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and... more
  2. 2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Totally agree with Mr. Bodzin - you need to be talking to a California Lawyer. In a single consultation that will not cost thousands of dollars you should be able to find out if California has adopted the Uniform Trust Code or something similar that gives people in your situation the right to ask a court to review a trustees actions, the right to ask for an accounting, the right to get vital documents disclosed. With a little guidance you might be able to initiate a proceeding yourself and get some judicial assistance but you also might need to appear in the California Court that has jurisdiction. I assume that the house and property we are discussion is located in California. If it's in Oregon you may have the right to go through the Oregon Courts. I am also not sure how this trust was created and what if any relavance a will has. Understand that if I draft a revocable living trust it becomes irrevocable when the client for whom this was created dies and all the property within the trust continues to be property of the trust. I may have draft a pour-over will to create a transfer of any left out property to the trust - but absent the existence of such left out property the pour-over will would not have any function. It would not change anything for the property already in the trust. I still think there is a right to review any relevant documents and property transfers to make sure the trustee has the authority to do what they are doing. PS call an attorney in California - Avvo posts are not a substitute for legal advice.

    The comments by this author to questions posted on Avvo are designed to foster a general understanding of what... more
  3. 1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Under the California Probate Code there are provisions to compel a person to produce a will and there are means to protect and recover trust assets if they have been mismanaged. The first step is to file the appropriate petition in the probate court. The proper court depends on whether you are bringing the action against the trustee for breach of duty, or to lodge the will., Although you can do this on your own, the Probate Code is somewhat complex and the probate court's are very rule oriented so it is recomended that you retain an attorney. Unfortunately, these type of legal proceedings can be extremely expensive. However, you should be able to consult with a California attorney for a few hundred dollars to determine what rights you have, how to exercise those rights, and find out approximately how much it will cost.

Related Topics

Pour-over will

A pour-over will is a will often used along with a trust. It ensures any assets not already in the trust at death get transferred ("poured over") to the trust.


Probate is the legal process for proving a will valid or invalid, appointing an executor, and distributing estate assets according to the will or state law.

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