If I am the beneficiary of Trust, what can I do if the trustee is allowing Trust property to fall into disrepair?

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If I am the beneficiary of Trust, what can I do if the trustee is allowing Trust property to fall into disrepair?

My grandmother originally wrote my mother out of her irrevocable Trust but amended it so that as long as she repairs replaces and maintains and pays all liability, earthquake and fire insurance and taxes for my grandmother’s home she can live there. She does not have

Asked on April 9, 2017 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If a trustee is not doing her job to protect trust property and assets for the beneficiaries, those beneficiaries can bring an action in chancery court (a part or division of county court) asking the court to look into the trustee's actions. If the trustee is not fulfiling her duty, she can be ordered to do certain things by the court (or conversely, ordered to not do certain things), could be replaced as trustee by the court, and could even potentially be ordered to repay out of her own pocket amounts she improperly took, lost, spent, or wasted. 
This is not a simple lawsuit to file, like bringing a small claims case over a disputed bill or fender bender. You are strongly encouraged to retain an attorney to help you--if the trust property has any significant value, it's worth the investment in a lawyer to protect your interest. However, if you simply cannot afford a lawyer, you are allowed to bring this action on your own, as your own attorney or "pro se." You can contact the chancery court clerk's office to get instructions or directions to where (e.g. in the online court rules) you can find instructions.


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