The Law Offices of Stephen E. Penner
Family Law and Estate Planning in Santa Barbara County

Trust Administration and Litigation

Fulfilling Your Fiduciary Duties

trust litigation


Trust administration in accordance with California law is a highly specialized field involving numerous fiduciary duties, requirements, and responsibilities.  The Law Offices of Stephen E. Penner have extensive experience representing and assisting trustees in administering trusts according to the requirements of California law as well as litigating trusts, from small to very large trust estates (including representation of a corporate trustee for some of the Walt Disney family trusts).

As a trustee, the exercise of your trustee powers and your adherence to your trustee duties will affect both the good standing of the trust assets and the potential for future litigation that may be initiated by beneficiaries, creditors, or other interested parties.  It is very important to make decisions as trustee in a manner that avoids as much costly litigation as possible, and our office has specialized experience in assisting trustees in minimizing litigation over their administration of the trust.

Our office can assist and guide trustees in carefully following all duties, including:

  1. The Duty to Protect Trust Property
  2. The Duty to Defend Actions
  3. The Duty to Enforce Claims
  4. The Duties of Co-Trustees
  5. The Duty to Administer the Trust Pursuant to Both the Terms of the Trust Instrument and the Requirements of California Law
  6. The Duty to Administer the Trust in a Prudent Manner
  7. The Duty to Exercise Reasonable Care and Skill
  8. The Duty to Prudently Invest the Trust Assets
  9. The Duty of Loyalty
  10. The Duty of Impartiality Towards all Beneficiaries
  11. The Duty to Keep Beneficiaries Informed
  12. The Duty to Account to Beneficiaries (including, in some cases, the preparation of annual accounting)

When administering a trust as a trustee, it is crucial to adhere to the above duties and to minimize any conflict among beneficiaries, family members, or other interested parties.  If you retain the Law Offices of Stephen E. Penner to assist you in your capacity as trustee, we will focus on assessing your responsibilities and creating a trust administration plan uniquely suited to your circumstances in order to maximize the profit gained from trust assets and minimize conflict or litigation with other parties.