Trust litigation is the process of bringing legal action against a trustee for breach of trust. It is the fiduciary duty of all Trustees to act in the best interests of the trust’s beneficiaries. When anyone breaches that duty, they can be held liable in a court of law. The following are some frequently asked questions about trust litigation.
Q: What is a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?
A: A breach of fiduciary duty occurs when a trustee fails to act in the best interests of the trust’s beneficiaries. This can happen when the trustee acts solely in their own interest or fails to carry out their duties. For example, a trustee may breach their fiduciary duty by investing trust funds in a risky venture or by failing to manage the trust properly.
Q: What are Some More Common Examples of a Trustee Breaching Their Fiduciary Duty?
A: Some examples of a trustee breaching their fiduciary duty include failing to provide information to the beneficiaries about the trust, failing to keep proper records of the trust, and making decisions that are not in the trust’s best interests. Any of these actions can be grounds for a breach of fiduciary duty claim.
Q: Can a Trustee Be Held Liable for Breaching Their Fiduciary Duty?
A: Yes, a trustee can be held liable for breaching their fiduciary duty. If it can be proven that the trustee breached their duty, they may be required to pay damages to the beneficiaries. In some cases, a trustee may also be removed from their position and replaced with a new trustee that the court decides is more qualified.
Q: How Do I Prove That a Trustee Breached Their Fiduciary Duty?
A: To prove that a trustee breached their fiduciary duty, you will need to show that the trustee acted in a way that was not in the best interests of the beneficiaries. This can be challenging, as it requires proving that the trustee knew, or should have known, that their actions were not in the best interests of the beneficiaries. However, specific pieces of evidence, such as documents or witnesses, can help to prove that a trustee breached their fiduciary duty.
Q: What are Some Common Defenses of a Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim?
A: Trustees may try to defend themselves against a breach of fiduciary duty by claiming they are innocent and acted in good faith or that they did not know their specific actions were harmful to the trust. The burden of proof lies with the claimant, so it is important to have strong evidence to back up any claims of a breach of fiduciary duty if you want to be successful in trust litigation.
Q: What are Some Common Remedies for a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?
A: The most common remedy for a breach of fiduciary duty is monetary damages. This means that the trustee may be required to pay money to the beneficiaries to compensate them for any losses they incurred due to the breach. In some cases, the court may also order the trustee to be removed from their position and replaced with a new trustee. In the most extreme cases, the court may order the trustee to be held in contempt of court, where punishments ranging from more fines to jail time can be imposed.
Q: What Should I Do if I Think That a Trustee Has Breached Their Fiduciary Duty?
A: If you think that a trustee has breached their fiduciary duty, you should speak to a trust litigation lawyer. They will be able to review your case and advise you on the best course of action. In some cases, reaching a settlement without going to court may be possible. However, if the trustee refuses to settle, or if the case is complex, it may be necessary to take the matter to court.
Q: What Are Some Common Mistakes That People Make in Trust Litigation?
A: One of the most common mistakes that people make in trust litigation is trying to represent themselves. This is a complex area of law, and it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. Trustees may also try to delay the process by refusing to provide information or cooperate with the beneficiaries. This can only worsen the situation, and it is important to take action as soon as possible to avoid further delays.
Q: How Can an Experienced Trust Litigation Lawyer Help Me?
A: An experienced trust litigation lawyer can help you in many ways. They have the legal lens and years of experience to deal with these types of cases. They will look closely at the facts and evidence to see if a case is to be made. If everything aligns with the allegations made, the lawyer can put together a strong case and represent you in court. The value of an attorney in the courtroom cannot go underestimated as they know how to deal with the often-tricky legal system and curveballs that would throw off the average person.
Q: Do I Need to Act Immediately if I Think a Trustee Has Breached Their Fiduciary Duty?
A: Yes. It is important to act quickly if you think that a trustee has breached their fiduciary duty. The sooner you speak to a lawyer, the faster they can start investigating your case and gathering evidence. While it’s important you are confident in your case, waiting too long can risk evidence being lost or forgotten. If you want to be successful in trust litigation, it is vital to act fast.
Contact Bochnewich Law Offices Today
If you think a trustee has breached their fiduciary duty, speak to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. At Bochnewich Law Offices, our team of trust litigation lawyers has years of experience representing beneficiaries in court. We will closely examine your trust case and advise you on the best course of action. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and preserve the ethics and integrity of your trust.