My opinion is that the lawyer was correct, the trust itself was liable for the fees and not the trustee.Probate
Code § 15685: The trustee has an equitable lien on the trust property as against the beneficiary in the amount of advances, with any interest, made for the protection of the trust, and for expenses, losses, and liabilities sustained in the administration of the trust or because of ownership or control of any trust property.
It sounds like the fees were incurred for the protection of the trust, so the trust and not the trustee is liable for the fees.
Also, the fee agreement was required to be in writing, see Business & Professions Code § 6148, posted at
You might want to have a local attorney read the trust document and review the court file and the letters from the attorney, and then advise the successor trustee on how to proceed. You can get a free consultation from some of the trust attorneys listed by location at
I hope this information is helpful.