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Estates: Understanding breach of fiduciary dury

| Jul 16, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Losing a loved one is never easy. Merely getting by day-to-day without them by your in your life can be challenging to say the least. But you might find yourself overwhelmed if you’ve been tasked with administering your loved one’s estate or handling a trust. As stressful as this process can be, we know that you want to do right by your loved one and ensure that their wishes are carried out as indicated in their estate plan. But as you proceed through trust or estate administration, you have to remember that issues often arise with the fiduciary duty.

What is the fiduciary duty?

In short, a fiduciary duty arises when you’re tasked with putting the interests of another person ahead of your own. In the context of trust administration, for example, the trustee is responsible for handling the trust’s assets in a way that benefit the trust’s named beneficiary. If the trustee uses trust funds for his or her own financial gain, then this is a breach of the fiduciary duty.

Signs that the fiduciary duty has been breached

The fiduciary duty is breached pretty regularly, and it can have a tremendous impact on those involved in estate administration, especially heirs and beneficiaries. That’s why you either need to be on the lookout for signs of breach of the fiduciary duty or work hard to avoid them on your end. Here are a few of those signs:

  • Poor record keeping
  • An inability to provide invoices and receipts when requested
  • Missing assets
  • A trustee favors a particular beneficiary
  • An estate administrator favors a particular creditor
  • Assets are commingled
  • There’s an apparent conflict of interests

Again, these are just some of the red flags that the fiduciary duty has been breached. If you spot any of them, then further investigation is warranted.

Secure help with your probate and estate administration needs

We know that dealing with the legalities of the probate system are tough in the aftermath of a loved one’s passing. But you don’t have the bear the burden on your own. Experienced law firms like ours are here to help ensure that you can navigate this process with confidence, protection, and an eye on ensuring that your loved one’s plans are carried out as they would have wished.