Many California estate plans involve living trusts that appoint successor co-trustees. Using multiple trustees in a trust can allow trustees to share the burden and responsibilities of the role. It may also benefit the beneficiaries, since they will have two trustees looking out for their best interests and protecting the assets of the trust. If you are a successor co-trustee and are beginning the process of implementing a trust in Orange County, it is important to understand the unique duties of being a co-trustee. Specifically, each co-trustee has a duty to comply with the following:

  1. Each of the co-trustees has a duty to participate in the administration of the trust. One trustee cannot sit back and avoid doing any work to administer the trust merely because there is another trustee also serving in the role.
  2. Each of the co-trustees must take reasonable steps to prevent their co-trustee from committing a breach of trust. For example, if you suspect a co-trustee of stealing funds from the trust, you have a duty to protect those funds to prevent the trustee from committing the theft.
  3. Each of the co-trustees must take reasonable steps to compel the co-trustee to fix a breach of trust. Using the previous example, if the co-trustee has stolen funds from the trust, the other trustee should make a reasonable effort to compel the other trustee to return those funds.

To learn more about serving as a co-trustee and implementing an Orange County trust, contact the experienced Orange County trust attorneys at the Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC. Call our office today at (714) 459-5481 for a consultation.

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm
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