Being responsible for a trust is no small thing. A trustee's role when administering a trust is significant and can be met with severe consequences if anything is done inappropriately. Those in California who are left with this responsibility need to know what exactly their role is and what they can do to protect themselves should anything go wrong.
A trustee has what are called fiduciary duties to uphold. This means that he or she is responsible for following the terms set forth in the trust document. That is his or her main role. A trustee cannot do whatever he or she pleases. There are limitations to the power this individual wields.
If one fails to administer the trust as written or if choices made are not believed to be in the best interests of the trust, beneficiaries would be well within their rights to take legal action against the trustee. To help avoid civil action, a trustee can help him or herself by documenting everything -- every change to the trust and every distribution. Along with that, if desired, there is insurance that one can obtain to protect oneself from lawsuits filed over any errors made when administering the trust.
Administering a trust may sound like a fairly simple and straightforward task to many California residents, but there are a lot of little details that, if not properly tended to, can cause issues for the trustee and beneficiaries. It is okay for a trustee to seek help as he or she strives to fulfill his or her responsibility appropriately. A skilled attorney can offer the assistance needed to help a trustee take the necessary actions to administer a trust without error.
Source: dummies.com, "What Are a Trustee's Fiduciary Duties?", Accessed on May 3, 2017