Steiger v. Steiger CA4/1 ( 2016 )


Menu:
  • Filed 8/5/16 Steiger v. Steiger CA4/1
                          NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS
    California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for
    publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication
    or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.
    
    
                        COURT OF APPEAL, FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
    
                                                      DIVISION ONE
    
                                               STATE OF CALIFORNIA
    
    
    
    LEE STEIGER, as Cotrustee, etc.,                                    D068385
    
             Plaintiff and Appellant,
    
             v.                                                         (Super. Ct. No.
                                                                         37-2013-00072651-PR-TR-CTL)
    PAUL STEIGER, as Cotrustee, etc.,
    
             Defendant and Respondent.
    
    
             APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Julia C.
    
    Kelety, Judge. Affirmed.
    
             Lee Steiger, in pro. per., for Plaintiff and Appellant.
    
             Van Dyke & Associates and Richard Scott Van Dyke, Geoffrey J. Farwell, for
    
    Defendant and Respondent.
    
             Lee Steiger petitioned the probate court to compel trustee Paul Steiger to account
    
    for the Louise A. Steiger Trust, for the period from January 10, 2000, to April 18, 2011.
    
    The court applied California law to administer the trust, and determined that Paul had no
    
    duty to account to Lee from January 10, 2000, through February 3, 2006 (the time period
    while Louise Steiger, settlor, was acting as cotrustee) or from February 3, 2006, to
    
    October 29, 2010 (the time period while Lee was acting as cotrustee with Paul).1 The
    
    court ordered Paul to file an amended account for the time period from October 29, 2010,
    
    through December 31, 2014. Lee, appearing in propria persona, has appealed the order,
    
    contending that New Jersey law should apply to govern the accounting and the court
    
    erred in holding that Paul had no duty to account for the majority of the pre-mortem
    
    period. We agree with the court's application of California law and affirm the court's
    
    order limiting the scope of accounting.
    
                       FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
    
           In May 1990, Louise (mother of Lee and Paul) executed a revocable trust
    
    agreement, prepared and certified by a New Jersey attorney (the Trust). The Trust named
    
    Louise as the "Donor" and "Trustee," but authorized Louise to resign at any time, upon
    
    which Paul and Lee would become successor trustees. The Trust provided for Louise's
    
    support during her lifetime and required distribution upon her death of any remainder in
    
    equal shares to her sons Paul and Lee. The Trust originally contained Louise's home and
    
    various financial instruments, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money market
    
    funds, government notes and certificates of deposit. Louise's home was sold in 2006,
    
    leaving no real property in the Trust. The Trust required the trustee to "render an
    
    accounting, from time to time, setting forth the receipts and disbursements of principal
    
    and income and assets on hand at the commencement and expiration of the accounting
    
    
    1      For clarity and ease of reference, we follow the parties' practice of referring to Lee
    Steiger, Paul Steiger and Louise Steiger by their respective first names.
                                                  2
    period." The Trust also contained the following provision: "This Agreement shall be
    
    construed for all purposes in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey."
    
           On January 10, 2000, the Trust was amended to add Paul as cotrustee (2000
    
    Amendment). On February 3, 2006, Paul, acting through power of attorney for Louise,
    
    executed a Second Amendment whereby Louise resigned as cotrustee of the Trust. On
    
    February 8, 2006, Lee accepted appointment as successor cotrustee of the Trust,
    
    replacing Louise. Louise was moved from New Jersey to Utah, where Lee resides, in
    
    2005 or 2006.
    
           Louise revoked Paul's power of attorney in late 2009. In January 2010, Paul
    
    petitioned the District Court of Utah for appointment as Louise's conservator, and was
    
    appointed as temporary guardian and conservator in March 2010, over Lee's objection.
    
    In March 2010, Louise signed a document purporting to modify the Trust to make Lee
    
    the only beneficiary.2 Paul and Lee participated in mediation in Utah and entered into a
    
    stipulation, filed with the Utah court on October 28, 2010, whereby Lee agreed to
    
    withdraw his objections to Paul's conservatorship and resign as cotrustee in exchange for
    
    Paul's agreement to forego any compensation as conservator, limit his trustee fees, and
    
    retain a professional guardian to resolve any disputes as to Louise's care. Louise died in
    
    April 2011. Lee declared under penalty of perjury that Louise "retained capacity up until
    
    the final weeks of her life."
    
    
    
    2      The parties disputed the effectiveness of the March 2010 document and the court
    found it ineffective. Lee appealed and we affirmed the court's order in an unpublished
    opinion. (Steiger v. Steiger (July 22, 2015, D066774) 
    2015 WL 4462203
    .)
                                                 3
           Lee filed a petition to compel Paul to provide an accounting throughout his
    
    trusteeship (among other things) in November 2013, and filed an amended petition on
    
    March 13, 2014. The parties filed simultaneous briefs and replies on the issue of pre-
    
    mortem accounting, including whether or not California or New Jersey law should apply
    
    to administration of the Trust. In March 2015, the court heard oral arguments of counsel
    
    for each party and issued an order holding as follows: (1) California law applies to trust
    
    administration issues, including a trustee's duty to account; (2) Paul had no duty to
    
    account from January 10, 2000, to February 3, 2006; (3) Paul had no duty to account to
    
    his cotrustee from February 3, 2006, to October 29, 2010; and (4) Paul shall file an
    
    amended account for the period from October 29, 2010, through December 31, 2014.
    
    Lee timely appealed.
    
                                           DISCUSSION
    
           A. Appealable Order
    
           As a threshold matter, we note that an order granting or denying a petition to
    
    compel an accounting under the Probate Code3 is not appealable. (§ 1304, subd. (a)(1)
    
    ["With respect to a trust, the grant or denial of the following orders is appealable: (a)
    
    Any final order . . . except the following: (1) Compelling the trustee to submit an
    
    account or report acts as trustee."].) Therefore, typically "[u]ntil the accounting is made
    
    and the order sustaining objections or approving the accounting is entered, there is no
    
    appealable order." (Evangelho v. Presoto (1998) 
    67 Cal. App. 4th 615
    , 622 (Evangelho).)
    
    
    
    3      All statutory references are to the Probate Code unless otherwise specified.
                                                  4
    However, "[a]n order to account is appealable when it expressly or implicitly decides
    
    other issues that could be the subject of an appealable probate order." (Esslinger v.
    
    Cummins (2006) 
    144 Cal. App. 4th 517
    , 522 (Esslinger).) "An order determining the
    
    existence of a power, duty, or right under a trust is appealable." (Id. at p. 523, citing
    
    §§ 1304, subd. (a), 17200, subd. (b)(2).) Because Lee raises the issue of the scope of
    
    Paul's duty to Lee during various time periods of trust administration and the testator's
    
    intent with respect to choice of law, the probate court's order denying Lee's petition for an
    
    accounting during those periods is appealable.
    
           B. California Law Applies to Trust Administration
    
           Lee contends the probate court prejudicially erred in interpreting the Trust to allow
    
    California law to apply to trust administration. Because "[t]here is no conflict or question
    
    of credibility in the relevant extrinsic evidence . . . interpretation of the trust is a question
    
    of law for our independent review." (Johnson v. Greenelsh (2009) 
    47 Cal. 4th 598
    , 604.)
    
    As is clear from the plain language of the Trust, and agreed to by parties in the prior
    
    appeal, the Trust's provisions are to be construed under New Jersey law. (Steiger v.
    
    Steiger, supra, 
    2015 WL 4462203
    , *2.)
    
           In New Jersey, as in California, courts interpret trusts to give effect to the settlor's
    
    intentions. (Fidelity Union Trust Co. v. Parfner (N.J. Ch. 1944) 
    37 A.2d 675
    , 678 ["The
    
    intention of the settlor, as expressed in the trust instrument, governs."].) To do so, the
    
    " 'primary inquiry' must be directed to 'the language of the instrument itself.' " (In re
    
    Trust Created by Agreement Dated December 20, 1961 (N.J. 2001) 
    765 A.2d 746
    , 755.)
    
    If the trust language is clear, and no ambiguity is asserted, the court confines itself to
    
                                                    5
    giving effect to the language used. (Ibid.) "When the instrument itself fails to indicate
    
    intent, 'resort may be had to extrinsic evidence to determine the terms of the trust.' " (In
    
    re Trust Under Agreement of Voorhees (N.J. App.Div. 1967) 
    225 A.2d 710
    , 713, citing 2
    
    Scott, Trusts (1939), § 164.1, pp. 1156-1157).
    
           In this case, the Trust instructs: "This agreement shall be construed for all
    
    purposes in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey." Although the plain
    
    language of the Trust expressly states Louise's intent with respect to the law to be applied
    
    in construing the Trust, the Trust does not designate any particular law to govern trust
    
    administration. Other New Jersey trust instruments have explicitly set forth the settlor's
    
    intention regarding administration. (See, e.g., Matter of Duke (N.J. Ch.Div. 1995) 
    702 A.2d 1008
    , 1014, affd., (N.J. App.Div. 1997) 
    702 A.2d 1007
     ["This [trust] Indenture . . .
    
    is intended to be made, administered and given effect under and in accordance with the
    
    present existing laws and statutes of said State . . . and the validity and construction
    
    thereof shall be determined and governed in all respects by such laws and statutes."];
    
    Fidelity Union Trust Co. v. Price (N.J. Ch.Div. 1952) 
    87 A.2d 565
    , 574, affd. in part &
    
    revd. in part (N.J. App.Div. 1952) 
    93 A.2d 321
     [" 'This [trust] indenture is executed by a
    
    resident of the State of New Jersey in said state, is intended to be made, administered and
    
    given effect under and in accordance with the present existing laws and statutes of said
    
    state, and the validity and construction thereof shall be determined and governed in all
    
    respects by such laws and statutes.' "].)
    
           Appellant has not presented any New Jersey law addressing the issue of which law
    
    to apply when administering an inter vivos trust under the present circumstances, nor
    
                                                  6
    have we located such authority. With respect to a testamentary trust, one New Jersey
    
    court found it reasonable to infer that a testator intended that Pennsylvania should have
    
    jurisdiction and supervision over the administration of the trust when the testator was a
    
    Pennsylvania resident, his will was probated in that state and he had appointed trustees
    
    who were residents of that state. (Howard Sav. Inst. v. Baronych (N.J. Ch.Div. 1950) 
    73 A.2d 853
    , 856.) However, the court's reasoning relied at least in part on the legal
    
    principle that "a testamentary trust in personalty is to be construed according to the law of
    
    the testator's domicile," which the court distinguished as inapplicable to an inter vivos
    
    trust in personal property. (Ibid.) With respect to determinations regarding an inter vivos
    
    trust, the New Jersey Supreme Court has observed that the "[r]esidence or domicile of the
    
    settlor and of the trustee, location of the assets, place of making the effectuating
    
    instruments and the intent of the settlor are factors, but none of itself is absolutely
    
    controlling." (Hooton v. Neeld (N.J. 1953) 
    97 A.2d 153
    , 159.)
    
           In the absence of applicable New Jersey case law, we examine other relevant
    
    sources. The Restatement Second Conflict of Laws provides "[t]he administration of an
    
    inter vivos trust of interests in movables is governed as to matters which can be
    
    controlled by the terms of the trust (a) by the local law of the state designated by the
    
    settlor to govern the administration of the trust, or (b) if there is no such designation, by
    
    the local law of the state to which the administration of the trust is most substantially
    
    
    
    
                                                   7
    related."4 (Rest.2d Conf. of Laws (1971) § 272.) "New Jersey typically gives
    
    considerable weight to Restatement views . . . ." (Citibank, N.A. v. Estate of Simpson
    
    (N.J. App.Div. 1996) 
    676 A.2d 172
    , 177 [discussing Rest.2d Conf. of Laws (1971)
    
    § 40].)
    
              A leading treatise on trusts further describes the analysis of a settlor's intention as
    
    to the law governing trust administration as follows:
    
              "In the absence of an effective designation by the settlor of the applicable
              law, the administration of an inter vivos trust of movables is ordinarily
              governed by the law of the state with which the administration of the trust
              has its most significant relationship. Ordinarily, this is the law of the state,
              if any, in which the settlor has fixed the administration of the trust. If the
              settlor has expressly provided in the trust instrument that the trust is to be
              administered in a particular state, the law of that state ordinarily applies to
              the administration of the trust, unless the settlor has manifested an intention
              that it is to be governed by the law of some other state. Even if the settlor
              has not expressly designated a state in which the trust is to be administered,
              the settlor may have done so impliedly. It is reasonable to infer in most
              situations that the settlor expected that the trustee would administer the
              trust at the trustee's domicile or place of business. . . . [¶] . . . [¶] . . .
    
              "As to matters involving trust administration, it is natural to infer that the
              settlor intended that the law of the place of administration would apply.
              This is true, for example, as to the trustee's compensation, investment of the
              trust funds, and the trustee's powers, duties, and liabilities."
    
    (7 Scott & Ascher, Trusts (5th ed. 2015) § 45.5.2.2 [New Jersey courts have historically
    
    relied on various editions of the treatise: see, e.g., Matter of Gonzalez (N.J. Ch.Div.
    
    1992) 
    621 A.2d 94
    , 95-96; Carr v. Carr (N.J. 1990) 
    576 A.2d 872
    , 880; In re Estate of
    
    4      "The term 'administration of a trust,' as it is used in the Restatement . . . , includes
    those matters which relate to the management of the trust. Matters of administration
    include those relating to the duties owed by the trustee to the beneficiaries. See
    Restatement of Trusts (Second), §§ 169-185." (Rest.2d Conf. of Laws (1971) § 271,
    com. (a), p. 172.) The duties referenced include the duty to render an accounting.
    (Rest.2d Trusts, § 172.).
                                                     8
    Lange (N.J. 1978) 
    383 A.2d 1130
    , 1137; In re Estate of Mild (N.J. 1957) 
    136 A.2d 875
    ,
    
    883].)
    
             Section 108 of the Uniform Trust Code contains a provision governing the
    
    principal place of administration for a trust. (U. Trust Code, §108.) In the official
    
    commentary for the Uniform Trust Code, section 108, the drafters note: "While transfer
    
    of the principal place of administration will normally change the governing law with
    
    respect to administrative matters, a transfer does not normally alter the controlling law
    
    with respect to the validity of the trust and the construction of its dispositive provisions."
    
    (U. Trust Code, §108, cmt.) New Jersey has recently adopted the Uniform Trust Code,
    
    effective July 17, 2016, including section 108. (2015 NJ Sess. Law Serv. Ch. 276 (A.B.
    
    2915); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 3B:31-8.)
    
             The Delaware Supreme Court examined the issue of which state's law to use for
    
    trust administration for a trust containing the following language: "[t]his Indenture shall
    
    be construed and regulated, and its validity and effect determined by the laws of the State
    
    of New Jersey." (In re Peierls Family Inter Vivos Trusts (Del. 2013) 
    77 A.3d 249
    , 264.)
    
    Applying the basic rule of construction that a court should attempt to give effect to each
    
    term of an agreement, the court reasoned that the term "regulated" referred to something
    
    other than the trust's "validity and effect" and was also distinct from the term "construe,"
    
    which the court equated with "interpret." (Id. at p. 265.) Because "[m]atters concerning
    
    a trust's validity, effect, and interpretation are not generally matters of administration,"
    
    the court concluded that the trust reflected "the settlor's intent that New Jersey law
    
    initially govern administration." (Ibid.) However, the court noted that the trust contained
    
                                                   9
    "no language evincing the settlor's intent that New Jersey law will always govern" trust
    
    administration and "[t]he settlor included no restriction on the appointment of out-of-state
    
    trustees." (Ibid.) The court viewed the settlor's appointment of a New York trustee to
    
    administer a trust governed by New Jersey law, as evidence of "her intent to ignore
    
    geographical boundaries." (Ibid.) The court therefore disagreed with the lower court's
    
    conclusion that changing the situs of the trust would not change the law governing
    
    administration, holding that "a change in the place of administration accomplished by
    
    appointing an out-of-state trustee will effect a change in the law governing
    
    administration, if the settlor has not indicated a contrary intent." (Id. at p. 266, 268.)
    
           In addition, a New York court examined the issue of which state's law to apply to
    
    trust administration for a trust containing a provision "that the trust shall be deemed a
    
    New Jersey trust and shall in all respects be governed by the laws of the State of New
    
    Jersey." (Application of City Bank Farmers Trust Co. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1957) 
    9 Misc. 2d 183
    , 185.) In that case, the decedent was a resident of New Jersey when the trust was
    
    executed, but appointed a New York corporation shortly thereafter to be the trustee, and
    
    the trustee's investment powers were defined in the trust by reference to New York law.
    
    (Id. at pp. 184-185.) The court concluded "it is clear that a trust of a New Jersey resident
    
    providing for investment of securities by a New York trustee under provisions of New
    
    York statutes will be governed by the New York statutes as construed by the courts of
    
    New York with respect to investments made by the trustee and administration of the trust
    
    estate." (Id. at 186.)
    
    
    
                                                  10
           Finally, one California treatise notes that including a choice-of-law clause
    
    specifying the law to govern the administration of a trust may be undesirable "because a
    
    future trustee may decide that the trust should be relocated to another jurisdiction,"
    
    therefore the drafter may instead "choose to provide only that the trust shall be construed
    
    in accordance with [the settlor's state] law." (Drafting California Revocable Trusts
    
    (Cont.Ed.Bar 4th ed. 2003) Choice of Law, § 18.9.) " 'Where an instrument has been
    
    drawn by one skilled in the law, the presence of legal technical terms is an indication that
    
    the legal term of art has been used, and therefore is to be accepted, in accordance with its
    
    legal definition.' " (Copley v. Copley (1981) 
    126 Cal. App. 3d 248
    , 271.)
    
           Here, although the Trust provided for New Jersey law as to its construction, it did
    
    not expressly indicate Louise's intent regarding which state's law should apply to trust
    
    administration. The drafting attorney's decision to use the term "construed" to reference
    
    the use of New Jersey law, rather than specifically referencing administration, implies
    
    that Louise did not intend to designate a particular state's law to govern trust
    
    administration. Louise amended the trust in 2000 to make Paul cotrustee, even though
    
    Paul has resided in California for "many, many years," and "administers the trust from
    
    California." Moreover, the Trust contemplated, from its inception, that either Paul, Lee
    
    or both of them would ultimately be the successor trustee(s), without geographic
    
    limitation. Under these circumstances, "it is natural to infer that the settlor intended that
    
    the law of the place of administration would apply"—in this case, California. (7 Scott &
    
    Ascher, Trusts (5th ed. 2015) § 45.5.2.2.)
    
    
    
                                                  11
           C. Scope of Paul's Duty to Account to Lee
    
           Lee petitioned for accounting under section 17200. Section 17200 allows a
    
    beneficiary of a trust to petition the court "concerning the internal affairs of the trust,"
    
    including compelling the trustee to provide information (pursuant to section 16061), or to
    
    account (pursuant to section 16064), to the beneficiary when the trustee has failed to
    
    provide the requested information or account within 60 days after a beneficiary's written
    
    request if no information or account was provided within the six months preceding the
    
    request. (§ 17200, subd. (b)(7)(B), (C).) Pursuant to section 16061, a trustee is required
    
    to provide "information to the beneficiary relating to the administration of the trust
    
    relevant to the beneficiary's interest" on the beneficiary's "reasonable request," but the
    
    requirement is limited by section 16069. (§ 16061.) Likewise, a beneficiary's ability to
    
    petition to compel an accounting under section 17200, subdivision (b)(7)(C) is limited by
    
    section 16064, which also incorporates the limitations of section 16069. (§§ 17200, subd.
    
    (b)(7)(C), 16064, subd. (c).)
    
           Accordingly, regardless of whether a beneficiary proceeds under section 17200,
    
    subdivision (b)(7)(B) or (C), a beneficiary's petition is constrained by section 16069,
    
    which establishes a "trustee is not required to account to the beneficiary. . . "[i]n the case
    
    of a beneficiary of a revocable trust, as provided in Section 15800, for the period when
    
    the trust may be revoked," or "[i]f the beneficiary and the trustee are the same person."
    
    (§§ 16069, 17200, subd. (b)(B), (C), 16061, 16064, subd. (c).) Section 15800 further
    
    provides: "during the time that a trust is revocable and the person holding the power to
    
    revoke the trust is competent: [¶] (a) The person holding the power to revoke, and not
    
                                                  12
    the beneficiary, has the rights afforded beneficiaries under this division. [¶] (b) The
    
    duties of the trustee are owed to the person holding the power to revoke." (§§ 15800;
    
    17200, subd. (a) [incorporating the limitations of § 15800 into § 17200].)
    
           Under the Probate Code, a remainder beneficiary's right to an accounting was
    
    revoked by the Legislature in 1986 with the enactment of former section 16062, but a
    
    remainder beneficiary may still ask the court for an order compelling the trustee to
    
    account.5 (Esslinger, supra, 144 Cal.App.4th at p. 526, fn. 4.) Section 17200,
    
    subdivision (b)(7), allows a remainder beneficiary to petition to compel a trustee to
    
    provide an accounting and "[t]he probate court has discretion to grant the petition and
    
    order the trustee to account to the remainder beneficiary." (Id. at p. 528.) "The court
    
    may dismiss a [section 17200] petition if it appears that the proceeding is not reasonably
    
    necessary for the protection of the interests of the trustee or beneficiary."
    
    (§ 17202.)
    
           "Regarding the scope of the accounting, the code sections grant broad equitable
    
    powers for the protection of beneficiaries. 'The matter of determining the appropriate
    
    equitable relief to be granted to a beneficiary is generally left to the good judgment of the
    
    trial court.' " (Evangelho, supra, 67 Cal.App.4th at p. 624.) However, the probate court
    
    "must exercise those powers 'within the procedural framework laid out in the governing
    
    statutes' of the Probate Code. [Citation.] We review the probate court's construction of
    
    
    5       Once the trust becomes irrevocable and the former remainder beneficiary becomes
    entitled to distributions, such beneficiary is then entitled to an accounting under current
    section 16062. (§ 16062 [requiring accounting to beneficiaries to whom "income or
    principal is required . . . to be currently distributed."].)
                                                  13
    the Probate Code de novo." (Babbitt v. Superior Court (2016) 
    246 Cal. App. 4th 1135
    ,
    
    1145 (Babbitt).) In contrast, we review the probate court's discretionary orders regarding
    
    accounting for abuse of discretion. (Christie v. Kimball (2012) 
    202 Cal. App. 4th 1407
    ,
    
    1414; Esslinger, supra, 144 Cal.App.4th at p. 528-529.)
    
           1.     Duty to Account to Lee While Louise Was Cotrustee
    
           Pursuant to section 15800, a trustee has no fiduciary duty towards a remainder
    
    beneficiary while a settlor is alive, as "the trustee owes a duty solely to the settlor and not
    
    to the beneficiaries." (Estate of Giraldin (2012) 
    55 Cal. 4th 1058
    , 1066, 1071 (Giraldin).)
    
    Following a settlor's death, however, "the beneficiaries have standing to claim a violation
    
    of the trustee's duty to the settlor to the extent that violation harmed the beneficiaries'
    
    interests." (Id. at p. 1071.) However, "if the trustee's duties are not owed to the
    
    beneficiaries at the time of the acts in question, the death of a settlor cannot make them
    
    retroactively owed to the beneficiaries." (Id. at pp. 1070-1071.)
    
           In Giraldin, the California Supreme Court favorably referenced Evangelho, which
    
    affirmed a trial court's order compelling a trust accounting for time periods prior to the
    
    settlor's death, in response to the beneficiaries' section 17200 petition alleging breach of
    
    trust. (Giraldin, supra, 55 Cal.4th at pp. 1069-1070; Evangelho, supra., 67 Cal.App.4th
    
    at pp. 621, 625.) In Evangelho, trust assets had decreased by over $300,000 during
    
    appellant's trusteeship, the appellant had moved trust funds to a joint checking account,
    
    wrote checks on the account even after she ceased to be trustee and used the transferred
    
    funds for what appeared to be personal expenses. (Id. at p. 625.) Under these facts, the
    
    court of appeal found the beneficiaries "made the necessary showing for an accounting of
    
                                                  14
    the trust and joint checking account over the entire period of the trust." (Ibid.)
    
    "Regarding the scope of the accounting," the Court of Appeal referenced the code's
    
    "broad equitable powers for protection of beneficiaries," and emphasized that "[t]he
    
    matter of determining the appropriate equitable relief to be granted to a beneficiary is
    
    generally left to the good judgment of the trial court." (Id. at p. 624.)
    
           In contrast, in Babbitt, an appellate court held that the probate court erred in
    
    compelling a pre-mortem accounting of revocable trust assets when the trustee was a co-
    
    settler, "[i]n the absence of any claim that [decedent cosettler and cotrustee] was
    
    incompetent or subject to undue influence." (Babbitt, supra, 246 Cal.App.4th at
    
    p. 1146.). The court reasoned that settlors may dispose of revocable trust assets as they
    
    please and are not subject to fiduciary duties, therefore while decedent was alive and
    
    competent, "the cotrustees could not have had any liability for 'fail[ing] to sufficiently
    
    preserve' the beneficiaries' interests." (Ibid.) The Babbitt court distinguished Giraldin as
    
    involving "a third party trustee who owed a fiduciary duty to the settlor and whose breach
    
    of duty could 'substantially harm the beneficiaries by reducing the trust's value against the
    
    settlor's wishes,' " which "did not and could not happen [in Babbitt] because the trustees
    
    and settlors were one and the same." (Babbitt, at p. 1147.) The court further observed
    
    "some courts have allowed beneficiaries to obtain an accounting for periods before a
    
    settlor's death where the settlor had 'lost capacity, was under undue influence, or did not
    
    approve or ratify the trustee's conduct.' " (Id. at p. 1147, fn. 10.)
    
           Lee contends we should reverse the court's order holding Paul had no duty to
    
    account to Lee for the time period in which Louise was alive and acting as cotrustee,
    
                                                  15
    prior to her resignation (January 10, 2000, through February 3, 2006). The court declined
    
    to order an accounting for the time period when Louise was serving as cotrustee,
    
    reasoning as follows: "[Louise] had the same duty. So to the extent that she's not
    
    insisting on accountings and enforcing that provision of the trust, then I don't see that
    
    Paul has any duty to account. If he did, it would only be to her, and she didn't apparently
    
    request that."6
    
           The court correctly applied the law in assessing Paul's duty to Lee. As described
    
    in Giraldin and Babbitt, interpreting a remainder beneficiary's rights under the Probate
    
    Code, a trustee has no duty to a beneficiary during the time a trust is revocable.
    
    (Giraldin, supra, 
    55 Cal. 4th 1058
    , 1070-1071; Babbitt, supra, 
    246 Cal. App. 4th 1135
    ,
    
    1146; §§ 16069, 15800.) A remainder beneficiary therefore can only make the necessary
    
    showing to obtain an accounting during the time period in which the trust is revocable
    
    pursuant to allegations that the trustee has breached a duty to the settlor. (Babbitt, supra,
    
    at p. 1147; Evangelho, supra, 
    67 Cal. App. 4th 615
    , 625.) Lee did not proceed under such
    
    allegations.
    
           The record on appeal contains no facts establishing that Paul breached any duty to
    
    Louise during the 2000 to 2006 time-period, or that Louise was incompetent or subject to
    
    
    
    6      The court's minute order stated "Paul had no duty to account to Donor while he
    was serving as Conservatee (1/10/00 - 02/03/06)." Lee characterizes the error as
    evidence of the probate court's "inaccurate understanding of the facts." However, the
    transcript of the court's oral ruling on Lee's petition establishes that the court knew Paul
    and Louise were serving as cotrustees during the 2000 to 2006 time-period, not
    conservator and conservatee. Therefore, the language of the minute order appears to be a
    typographical error, rather than evidence of any court confusion regarding the facts.
                                                 16
    Paul's undue influence during that time. In contrast, according to Lee, Louise was
    
    sufficiently competent to execute an amendment to the Trust in March 2010, and Lee
    
    insists that his claim is not one for breach of trust. Although Lee alleges that Paul
    
    improperly transferred funds out of the trust between 2010 and 2011, such time period
    
    was well after 2006. Under these facts, Lee has shown no error of law or abuse of
    
    discretion in the court's holding that Paul was not required to account to Lee during the
    
    2000 to 2006 time-period while Louise was a cotrustee.
    
           2.       Duty to Account to Lee While Lee Was Cotrustee
    
           Lee further asks us to reverse the portion of the court's order holding that Paul had
    
    no duty to account to Lee for the time period Lee served as cotrustee (from February 3,
    
    2006 to October 29, 2010). The court reasoned that "cotrustees have the same duties, and
    
    if there's some problem, they need to address it contemporaneously." The court
    
    therefore denied Lee an accounting for the February 3, 2006, to October 29, 2010 time-
    
    period.
    
           Under California law, a cotrustee may not delegate the entire administration of the
    
    trust to another. (§ 16012, subd. (a).) "If a trust has more than one trustee, each trustee
    
    has a duty to do the following: [¶] (a) To participate in the administration of the trust.
    
    [¶] (b) To take reasonable steps to prevent a cotrustee from committing a breach of trust
    
    or to compel a cotrustee to redress a breach of trust." (§ 16013.) "A trustee must
    
    exercise reasonable supervision over the conduct of a cotrustee in relation to the trust."
    
    (Blackmon v. Hale (1970) 
    1 Cal. 3d 548
    , 560; 559.) "While a trustee is not strictly liable
    
    for the wrongful acts of a cotrustee, a trustee is responsible for the wrongful acts of a
    
                                                 17
    cotrustee to which he consented, or which, by his negligence, he enabled the cotrustee to
    
    commit." (Middlesex Ins. Co. v. Mann (1981) 
    124 Cal. App. 3d 558
    , 573.) "The trustee
    
    has the power to prosecute or defend actions, claims, or proceedings for the protection of
    
    trust property and of the trustee in the performance of the trustee's duties." (§ 16249.)
    
           Both Paul and Lee served as cotrustees between 2006 and 2010. Lee is a certified
    
    public accountant, and prepared tax returns for the trust for a number of years. Lee was
    
    provided with copies of, or access to, all of the statements of all financial institutions of
    
    the Trust, beginning with the time he became cotrustee in 2006. In a letter dated March
    
    2, 2010, Lee requested a formal accounting of the Trust from Paul. Lee resigned as
    
    cotrustee on October 28, 2010.
    
           As discussed above, Paul had no duty to Lee to provide an accounting during the
    
    period of time in which the trust was revocable and Louise was competent. (Giraldin,
    
    supra, 
    55 Cal. 4th 1058
    , 1070-1071; Babbitt, supra, 
    246 Cal. App. 4th 1135
    , 1146;
    
    §§ 16069, 15800.) Lee did not proceed on a theory of breach of trust to Louise or
    
    establish her incompetence during the February 2006 to October 2010 time-period.
    
    Consequently, the probate court did not error in applying the law to rule that Paul had no
    
    duty to Lee to provide an accounting for that time period.
    
           On appeal, Lee argues the court's decision denying an accounting from 2006 to
    
    2010 was based on inaccurate information because he did not have equal access to all
    
    trust information while he was cotrustee. Lee provides several pages of "facts" in support
    
    of his argument that do not include citations to the record. "Rule 8.204(a)(1)(C) of the
    
    California Rules of Court requires all appellate briefs to '[s]upport any reference to a
    
                                                  18
    matter in the record by a citation to the volume and page number of the record where the
    
    matter appears.' It is well-established that '[i]f a party fails to support an argument with
    
    the necessary citations to the record, . . . the argument [will be] deemed to have been
    
    waived.' " (Conservatorship of Kevin A. (2015) 
    240 Cal. App. 4th 1241
    , 1253.)
    
           Moreover, based on the record provided, it appears few of the "facts" Lee relies on
    
    were ever presented to the probate court, and we decline to consider them now. In any
    
    case, such facts are unlikely to have changed the court's decision, which was based (at
    
    least in part) on Lee's fiduciary duties as a cotrustee from 2006 through 2010 and his
    
    failure to take any contemporaneous action for Louise's benefit during that time. The
    
    court was not sympathetic to Lee's argument that he did not get all the information
    
    everything he wanted while acting as cotrustee, in light of his equal responsibility for any
    
    accounting and transactions during that time. Under such facts, the probate court did not
    
    abuse its discretion in determining that equity did not require Paul to provide a formal
    
    accounting to Lee, several years after the fact, for a period of time when Lee was a
    
    cotrustee with an equal fiduciary duty to ensure that the Trust was being used to benefit
    
    Louise.
    
    
    
                                           DISPOSITION
    
           The probate court's order denying accounting for the period of January 10, 2000,
    
    to October 29, 2010 is affirmed. Paul Steiger shall recover his costs on appeal.
    
    
    
    
                                                  19
                               O'ROURKE, J.
    
    WE CONCUR:
    
    
    BENKE, Acting P. J.
    
    
    NARES, J.
    
    
    
    
                          20