Trust, Probate & Fiduciary Litigation
Breach of Fiduciary Claims
Schmidt Basch,LLC has a wealth of experience in probate, asset protection and fiduciary litigation matters. With our focus and experience, we understand the intricacies of these complex areas of law. Our attorneys’ level of understanding is the foundation of our counsel to individuals, family, loved ones and business associates. We deeply appreciate and respect the effort, care and financial commitment that individuals, families and business owners invest in building and creating a comprehensive plan for their estate and financial affairs, and we are committed to protecting and enforcing that all important estate plan and the distribution of assets in accordance with the plan’s over all purpose and goal.
Unfortunately, sometimes even the most thoroughly planned estate, with an extremely well-constructed trust and last will instrument, can be vulnerable to substandard or improper administration by a trustee or by an executor. Worse, cases involving outright theft or fraud have become common. Inadequate or no attention to the detailed fiduciary duties owed by trustees and executors can result in beneficiaries who are in need of financial or other support being deprived of the assistance to which they are legally entitled.
Generally, trustees and executors are obligated to follow the terms of the written instrument under which they are appointed to serve in a fiduciary capacity or role. As fiduciaries, trustees and executors must not only fulfill the duties outlined for them under written instruments but also according to State law. There are several fiduciary duties that are commonly found under trusts and last wills as well as required under State law. If a fiduciary, such as a trustee or executor, fails to follow and fulfill those duties, that fiduciary may be held accountable and have legal liability to the beneficiaries of the trust or estate.
Some examples of violations or breach of the fiduciary duty owed by a trustee or an executor to the beneficiaries under an estate plan are:
- Failure to provide accountings and reports of different assets and transactions to beneficiaries.
- Entering transactions that are favorable to the fiduciary to the detriment or loss of the beneficiaries (“self-dealing”).
- Comingling trust or estate funds with personal funds and assets of the fiduciary.
- Intentionally delaying administration and distributions to certain beneficiaries based solely on personal animosity or hurt feelings.
- Negligent or imprudent investing and handling of assets during the administration process.
- Taking unreasonable compensation from the trust or estate in relation to the time and scope of services provided by the fiduciary.
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We are available to assist with holding fiduciaries accountable when necessary.