If you’re a Trustee facing accusations of mishandling, fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, self-dealing or any other mismanagement, then you may want to contact a Trustee Defense attorney.
Are Beneficiaries Trying to Remove You as a Trustee?
As a Trustee, you have the responsibility to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries at all times. But you may find families and heirs feeling unfairly treated due to misunderstandings and long-standing family tensions. This can lead to Trustee removal claims.
While as a Trustee you must abide by the fiduciary duties by law, this doesn’t stop you from gaining professional legal help to guide you through administration and protect you in the face of allegations and claims.
As experienced Trust law attorneys, we focus on dispute resolutions to help avoid the costly and uncertain outcomes of litigations and courts. However, if litigation is required, we ensure your rights are protected and provide a route to a realistic defense, regardless of the validity of accusations.
Act Fast – Contact a Trustee Defense Attorney
If as a Trustee you have received notice of a Trustee removal petition against yourself, then you must seek counsel as soon as possible. The consequences could see you being removed from your position and facing painful expenses.
If there is a degree of justification to the questions posed by the beneficiaries, you will have to prove and justify your actions.
Defending Trustees Against Wrongdoing Claims
We regularly see Trustees accused of wrongdoing with no basis whatsoever. Trustees are often damned if they do and damned if they don’t. From accusations of overspending to selling property too slowly, we’ve seen it all. Time and time again, these claims are unjust.
When accusations are made, a Trustee Defense attorney can help to resolve all misunderstandings without the need for a jury.
Our team is prepared to help if you’re a Trustee accused of:
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Failing to follow the terms of the trust
- Failing to properly account
- Lack of communication
- Mishandling trust funds
What Are The Duties of Trustees?
Under Florida’s Trust Code, Trustees must follow certain requirements at all times. If any beneficiary believes these standards haven’t been upheld, they may be able to make a Trustee Removal claim. These include:
Administering Trusts in Good Faith
Florida Statute §736.0801 states, “the trustee shall administer the trust in good faith, following its terms and purposes and the interests of the beneficiaries, and in accordance with this code”.
Loyalty to The Beneficiaries
Trustees must act in allegiance and with loyalty to the beneficiaries of the trust. Failure to do so could expose them to personal liability. Trustees are advised to seek the legal guidance of a Trustee defense attorney before any administrative duties or to protect themselves in the face of Trustee removal claims.
Dictates of the Trust Instruments
Trustees must follow the instructions of the Trust itself. Sometimes, conflicts can arise over the language used in the trust, requiring a lawyer to step in for a resolution or a court to determine an interpretation.
Communication with Beneficiaries
Clear communication with the beneficiaries is required, especially when notable changes occur. Written communications are advised to avoid conflicts, confusion and to maintain records for legal purposes.
Accounting of the Trust
A Trustee must give a full accounting of the trust to the beneficiaries by law annually. This includes records of assets, liabilities, revenue received, payments made and more.
Can a Trustee Be Sued?
Yes. Trustees are held to the highest legal standards and can be sued for a variety of reasons. Courts are often unforgiving to Trustees who have failed to live up to their duties. Therefore Trustees facing allegations must contact a Trustee Defense attorney.
Trustee Defense Against Demands for Accounting
Accounting is highly regulated and requires the Trustee to disclose every expense, income and asset down to the decimals. This can account for tens to hundreds of pages.
If not satisfied with the accounting, a beneficiary can demand you explain the contents under oath. In these instances, you’ll need the assistance of a Trustee Defense attorney to avoid any costly mistakes and to ensure all supporting documentation is prepared and disclosed.
Additionally, you may find yourself accused of not providing accounting information soon enough. However, there could be various reasons for this that have nothing to do with mismanagement or fraud.
Defending a Trust Document
Beneficiaries can claim there is something wrong with a Trust and challenge its validity. This can lead to a Trustee removal, changes in the Trust or declaring it invalid.
However, many times the reasons for these accusations can be mistakes themselves, desperate or have simple answers.
A Trustee Defense attorney will either engage in an out-of-court dialogue or fight the claim in a trial. If objections are not withdrawn over fears of costly litigation, an attorney will attempt to have the case thrown out of court due to insufficient evidence.
Trustee Defense Against Claims by Creditors
When a person dies, various people will come out of the woodwork to make claims against the trust, including creditors and the IRS. A Trustee defense attorney will evaluate the claims of the creditors and ensure you are not held personally liable for any outstanding debts or liabilities.
Contact a Florida Trustee Defense Attorney
If you have received notice of a removal petition, fear you’ve breached fiduciary duties or require administration assistance, then you should contact a Florida Trustee defense attorney as soon as possible.
This could be the difference between a quick and tidy resolution outside a court and an expensive, uncertain litigation battle.
Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. is a U.S. News and World Reports Tier 1 law firm in Florida, specializing in Estate Planning & Probate since 1958. With award-winning experienced attorneys, they give you the best chance of getting the resolution you hope for.
Schedule a free consultation today to get started or to get any questions answered.