What are the rights of a co-trustee to an accounting, etc?

There are 3 sibling beneficiaries to a trust that includes a house; 2 siblings are co-trustees; 1 of the trustee’s lives in the house and has been handling trustor’s finances for many years paying minimal rent. The trustor has passed away. What are the rights of the other trustee to an accounting of financing, access to house to start division of property process and enforcement of a fair rent?

Asked on March 1, 2013 under Estate Planning, California


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The co-trustee has rights and obligations equal to the other trustee.  This includes not only an accounting - an accounting is now due to all of the beneficiaries and not just the trustees - but all the trust administration procedures.  The trust document should state whether co-trustees must act jointly or can act independently.  If it does not state this, California trust law will say how co-trustees must act.

Both trustees are required to carry out the intentions of the trustor, not their own intentions.  Neither trustee may take actions that benefit them while harming other beneficiaries.  If the trustee who lives in the house does not share information and responsibility with you, he or she can be removed by a court.

If the trustee does not cooperate fully, you should consult a trust lawyer nearby to assist with this.

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