Interpretation of the Trust or Administration

Court can help if you have question on interpretation of the trust or how it is administered.

Unless the trust is revocable, a trustee or beneficiary can petition the Court about the internal affairs of the trust or to ask if the trust exists.

Petitioning the Court is complicated.  Talk to a qualified lawyer before filing a petition.

Your petition can ask the Court to do many things, including: 

  • Determine the validity of terms of the trust.
  • Identify the beneficiaries and determine who gets property, and when they get it, if the trust does not specify that information.
  • Settle the accounts and review the acts of the trustee.
  • Tell the trustee to do something, like report about the trust or account to the beneficiary.
  • Grant powers to the trustee.
  • Determine or review a trustee’s pay.
  • Appoint or remove a trustee or accept a trustee’s resignation.
  • Make the trustee pay for losses to the trust or a beneficiary that are the trustee’s fault.
  • Approve or direct a change in the trust, or end the trust.
  • Approve or direct combining or dividing trusts.
  • Change the trust to make a decedent’s estate qualify for the charitable estate tax deduction under federal law.
  • Authorize transfer of a trust or trust property to or from another or country.
  • Direct transfer of a testamentary trust from one county to another.
  • Approve removal of a testamentary trust from court supervision.
  • Determine the reasonableness of payment for legal services.

You can petition the Court for other reasons, too.  For more information read California Probate Code Section 17200.

The trustee or any interested person can file a petition if: 

  • The trustee has or holds title to real or personal property, and another person makes a claim against all or some part of that property.
  • Another person has or holds title to real or personal property and the trustee makes a claim against all or some part of that property.
  • A creditor of the settlor of the trust makes a claim against the trust.

See California Probate Section 17200.1 and Section 850.

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Source: Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara

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