Handling Disputes Involving Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area and throughout Missouri and Illinois
In the context of estate planning, fiduciary duties abound. Trustees owe a fiduciary duty to their beneficiaries. Likewise, those who have been given power of attorney owe a fiduciary duty to the principal–the person who executed the power of attorney.
A fiduciary duty is the highest duty of care that one can owe to another. Courts have the authority to hold fiduciaries accountable and sanction or remove fiduciaries who fail to discharge their duties. If you are concerned that someone who owes you or a family member a fiduciary duty has acted improperly, the skilled attorneys at Kilo Flynn can investigate for wrongdoing and hold the agent accountable.
What Is Fiduciary Duty?
Fiduciary duty comes about when one person has entrusted in another the responsibility to manage money or property or to otherwise make important decisions on their behalf. A common example of someone with a fiduciary duty is the trustee of a trust who is tasked with managing the assets in the trust.
The law imposes duties on the trustee to follow certain legal requirements. These are called fiduciary duties. For example, the law requires that a trustee complete proper paperwork that relates to the trust. The law also requires that the trustee act reasonably and impartially. The trustee must see the directions listed in the trust documents are followed and that the assets are managed and maximized. Finally, the law prohibits “self-dealing” behavior by the trustee, such as stealing or wasting money or changing the terms of the trust.
What Can Be Done If A Breach Is Suspected?
If you suspect that the trustee is acting inappropriately, it is possible that you can demand an accounting of the trust by the trustee. The trustee will have to produce all documentation showing how the trust is being managed. The trustee will have to show how much he or she is being paid. The documentation will show how the trust money is invested.
When reviewed and interpreted by a competent estate planning lawyer, such documentation may be enough to show a pattern of self-dealing or mismanagement. However, sometimes more investigation will have to take place. If necessary, a lawsuit could be filed so that the trustee will be forced to testify under oath about the decisions he or she made in managing the trust.
Contact a St. Louis Breach of Fiduciary Duties Lawyer
Mismanagement of a trust can cost trust beneficiaries substantial amounts of money. Also, mismanagement of a trust is not in keeping with the wishes of the creator of the trust. If you suspect a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of a trustee or an agent acting under a power of attorney, speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible is important in order to minimize the damage done by the trustee.
The attorneys at Kilo Flynn have experience in breach of fiduciary duty claims and are committed holding trustees and other agents accountable. We work with clients throughout the Missouri and Illinois, including the City of St. Louis, and the surrounding Missouri counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin and Crawford; and the Illinois counties of Madison, St. Clair and Monroe, to name a few. Call us today for a free consultation.