Legal Help With Trusts and Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Prosper Trust Litigation Attorney
A Trust is a useful estate planning tool that serves a variety of purposes both before and after a person’s death. It can reduce tax liability, provide for children, support a charity, and control access to wealth until certain conditions have been fulfilled.
The creation of a Trust establishes a legal relationship in which a Trustee holds legal title and possession of property that is owned by one or more beneficiaries. Because a Trust directs a third person to handle the assets of another, problems can arise with even the most well-drafted Trust document.
The estate planning team at Albin Oldner Law, PLLC, drafts trust instruments that include clear trustee duties, causes for legal action, as well as remedies. Should a breach of fiduciary duty occur, our trust litigation attorneys can take quick action to protect your funds. Our extensive experience in estate and probate litigation allows us to anticipate potential problems so they can be avoided in the drafting stage.
We recommend you seek immediate legal counsel to minimize damage. We represent beneficiaries and trustees throughout Texas.
How is a Trust Managed?
The Trust document and the Texas Trust Code control the manner in which Trust funds and assets are held, managed, protected, invested and distributed. The trustee is required to abide by the terms of the Trust document and the Texas Trust Code, but has varying degrees of discretion to make decisions concerning the Trust.
For example, the Trust document might allow the trustee to make stock purchases or it might prohibit certain types of investments. Likewise, the Trust document might specify in detail the conditions upon which a beneficiary is to receive funds, or it might provide wide latitude to the trustee to make decisions in that matter.
Regardless of the level of discretion permitted, the trustee must use good judgment and act in the best interests of the beneficiaries, while abiding by the law and the Trust instrument itself.
What is a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?
When a person accepts the role of trustee, he or she accepts the fiduciary responsibilities imposed by the Trust instrument, the Texas Trust Code, and under the state’s common laws. As a fiduciary, the trustee has a duty to act in the beneficiaries’ best interests when making decisions about the Trust, including:
- Avoiding conflicts of interests
- Not obtaining a personal benefit, although the Trust might allow for trustee fees
- Applying all of the knowledge and skills at the trustee’s disposal
- Providing a full accounting of the activities undertaken on behalf of the Trust
- Acting with discretion and holding Trust matters in confidence
A breach of fiduciary duty occurs when the trustee fails to act in the beneficiaries’ best interest.
A breach of fiduciary duty is said to be in bad faith if the trustee had an improper motive, such as stealing funds or intentionally withholding material information from the beneficiaries.
A trustee could also make a mistake in good faith and be held liable for damage to the Trust even though the fiduciary breach was accidental. In some cases, the courts have sided with trustees.
Consult with a Plano Trust Litigation Attorney
Talk with our Trust litigators for legal advice on the strength of your claim in court. We will take decisive action to protect the integrity of your Trust and your interests. We serve clients in McKinney, Celina, Allen and communities throughout Denton County.