Trustees: Consider a Court Petition for Help With Unresolved Issues

For many trustees charged with the administration of a trust in Orange County, there is an underlying thought that involving the probate court should be avoided at all costs. Court oversight is sometimes needed, however. Further, in some cases, there are certain tools involving the court that may be useful to trustees to resolve issues as they administer trusts. Section 17200 Petitions are an example—they allow trustees and beneficiaries to petition the court concerning the internal affairs of the trust administration.

Using a Section 17200 Petition

So, when should a trustee or beneficiary consider using a Section 17200 Petition? Following are five examples:

  1. When co-trustees, with equal powers, cannot agree on an issue
  2. When a trustee and a beneficiary disagree as to how to treat a certain issue
  3. When a potential conflict of interest needs resolution
  4. When the parties cannot agree on the extent of reserves of trust property that need to be held in trust for the remainder beneficiaries
  5. When a trustee fails to provide requested information to a beneficiary

There are countless other reasons for considering the use of a Section 17200 Petition in addition to those outlined above. Trustees should recognize that while keeping the trust administration outside of the probate court may be preferable under ideal circumstances, in other situations the court can help to resolve issues definitively.

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