Christie v. Kimball (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 1407

You never know what can happen once a case is filed in court. In the case of Christie v. Kimball, the California Court of Appeal ruled that the probate court, on its own initiative, had the authority to order the trustee of a trust to prepare and present a formal, verified accounting where it was deemed necessary in the court’s discretion in order to determine the status of trust assets. The Court of Appeal found that this authority rested upon the probate court’s general power to supervise the administration of a trust, and also pursuant to the catch-all authority provided to the probate court in Cal. Prob. Code ยง17206. The interesting thing about this ruling is that, despite confirming common assumptions of the probate court’s power, the Court of Appeal ultimately determined that the order compelling the accounting was not, in and of itself, appealable. Those who are considering acting as a trustee should realize that it is both possible and likely that the probate court may order you to prepare and present a formal, verified accounting as a preliminary step in any court dispute which arises regarding the trust and its assets, and that you do not have the right to appeal any such order.