Probate Code §§16060 – 16064, 15800, 15802 – 15805 governs the scope of a trustee’s duties to account and report information. Specific provisions of the trust instrument also govern that scope. If you feel that a trustee has failed to fully account for the trust’s income, debts, assets, and liabilities, you should contact a trust dispute lawyer as soon as possible.
Scope of Duty
The trustee’s duties vary depending on whether the trust is a revocable, irrevocable, or a testamentary trust. One can make the duties more stringent or relaxed by the terms of the trust instrument so long as they don’t circumvent statutory requirements or violate public policy.
Account to Beneficiaries
The content and presentation requirements of accounting must comply with the format set out in Probate Code §16063. According to Probate Code §16063(a) the account must contain all of the following:
- A statement of receipts and disbursement of principal and income
- A statement of assets and liabilities
- Information concerning the compensation of the trustee its agents
- The relationship of the agents to the trustee
- A statement that the recipient may petition for court review
- A statement that claims against the trustee for breach of trust may not be made after 3 years from receipt of a report or account
- disclosing facts giving rise to the claim
Beneficiaries may also seek and receive informal accountings and reports.
Compel an Accounting
Generally a beneficiary may request financial and other information concerning a trust from the trustee, with a few exceptions. The beneficiary has the right to file a petition for an order compelling a trustee to report information and to account under two conditions:
- the trustee failed to submit a requested report or account within 60 days after a written request;
- the trustee did not make a report or account within 6 months preceding the written request.
If the trustee fails to provide the beneficiary with an accounting as specified above, he or she may petition the court to order the trustee to do so. If the accounting is incomplete, unbalanced, suspicious or unacceptable, you can file an objection.