Answers to Common Questions and Situations

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How do I know if a trustee has breached their duties?

trustee has breached their duties

Trustees owe a certain level of care and responsibility to trust beneficiaries. There are many different classifications of the type of “duty” that is owed to beneficiaries. Since discussing each of these in depth would take a lot more space than we have for today’s topic, I will some of the key responsibilities in very general terms.

First and foremost, a trustee should never misappropriate trust monies (aka stealing money from the trust). Trusts are set up in many different ways but typically they have beneficiaries designated to receive certain funds, for specific purposes, at specified times. It is the trustee’s job to make sure the monies are handed over to the beneficiaries in accordance with all the ground rules laid out in the trust documents.

So if a trustee starts to deviate from the ground rules laid out in the trust they have most likely breached their duty or duties to the beneficiaries. If you feel this has happened or is happening to you it is important to act quickly in order to avoid any further harm. If you do not have a copy of the trust documents you should request a copy from the trustee. The trust document is crucial in determining if a trustee has breached any duties because every trust is different, and some trusts allow things that others do not. Without knowing the ground rules it is nearly impossible to determine if there has been any deviation from them by the trustee.

Once you have a copy of the trust document, you should carefully review it to determine what the trustee is and is not allowed to do. We recommend having an attorney help as trust documents are often long and very complex.  If after reviewing the trust document, you believe the Trustee has breached his or her duties, you may need to pursue legal action to set things right. Given the complexity of these lawsuits, we do not recommend that you do so on your own. Please contact our office for a complimentary consultation.

Disclaimer: The information above is provided for general information only and should not be considered legal advice. Our probate attorneys provide legal advice to our clients after talking about the specific circumstances of the client’s situation. Our law firm cannot give you legal advice unless we understand your situation by talking with you. Please contact our law office to receive specific information about your situation.

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About the author

Erik J. Broel
Founder & ceo

Erik founded the firm in 2009. He sees it as his personal mission to demystify the process of handling an estate or trust, and to help people by making the complex estate process simple and accessible. He believes there is always a better way to do things, and loves finding new and innovative ways to deliver better, more effective service that solves the client’s key problem or issue, and improves the client’s life.

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