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Recovery of attorney’s fees and costs –

For Trustees:

A trustee is entitled to the repayment out of the trust property for the following:

(a) Expenditures that were properly incurred in the administration of the trust.

(b) To the extent that they benefited the trust, expenditures that were not properly incurred in the administration of the trust.” (§ 15684.) “A trustee is not entitled to attorney fees and expenses of litigation where it is determined that the trustee breached the trust,” unless the trustee’s actions resulted in a benefit to the trust. (Estate of Gump, supra, 1 Cal.App.4th at p. 605; Estate of Vokal (1953) 121 Cal.App.2d 252, 261 [a trustee is not entitled to recover expenses and fees incurred in litigation where the trustee caused the controversy and the litigation did not benefit the trust].)

For Beneficiaries:

A beneficiary may be entitled to reimbursement of attorneys fees expended in litigation to enforce the terms of the trust on a “common fund” theory of recovery. To the extent that such litigation also benefits other beneficiaries the court may exercise its broad equitable powers to charge other beneficiaries a pro-rata share of the litigating beneficiary’s attorneys fees and costs.


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