Navigating A Breach Of Trustee Fiduciary Duty
Overseeing the assets and activities of a trust is a big responsibility. So, when trustees are accused of breaching their fiduciary duty, the implications can be staggering. At Zachary D. Smith, LLC, our attorney defends people in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky suspected of breaching their duty as trustee. We also help those who suspect wrongdoing on another person’s part to seek accountability.
What Is A Trustee’s Fiduciary Duty?
Assigning the role of trustee to someone is not to be taken lightly. The settlor of the trust usually hand-selects who will carry out the duties of a trustee. If the settlor doesn’t decide, the court will do so on their behalf. The person in this role has several essential responsibilities to fulfill, including:
- Duty of loyalty – The trustee must always act according to the trust beneficiaries’ best interests.
- Duty of prudence – A trustee must handle a trust’s property fairly and professionally.
- Duty of impartiality – The trustee cannot exhibit a preference for one beneficiary over another.
- Duty to not commingle property – The trustee is prohibited from mixing the trust’s assets with the beneficiaries’ personal ones.
- Duty to communicate with the beneficiaries – Trustees must keep the trust’s beneficiaries informed on accounting matters.
Once the role of trustee has been accepted, the trustee cannot resign without approval from the court or all beneficiaries.
Signs Of Trustee Wrongdoing To Look Out For
Because the duty of care for trustees is so rigorous, there are usually red flags when someone isn’t meeting that standard. Signs of wrongdoing to look out for include:
- Dysfunction in the family
- Conflicts of interest
- Changes in distributions
- Changes in beneficiary status
- Lack of communication or secrecy surrounding accounting
If you sense something’s amiss with your trustee, go with your gut. It never hurts to consult an attorney about your concerns. If, however, you fail to act when there are signs of a breach of fiduciary duty, the consequences could be dire.
Start Working Toward A Resolution Today
If you’re a trustee accused of wrongdoing or suspect a breach of trustee fiduciary duty, contact us. Our skilled and experienced attorney at Zachary D. Smith, LLC, can help you determine the next steps. Call 513-275-5367 or send us a message to schedule your consultation.