Are you familiar with the concept of trust litigation? You need the support of an experienced Arkansas trust litigation lawyer if you find yourself in the position of disagreeing with the actions of a trustee. The support of a trustee is instrumental in helping you to navigate administration of the trust but it is also the possibility that you may not get along with that trustee or that he or she fails to communicate with you appropriately. In these circumstances you need to hire someone with experience to help you navigate this process. Note that the legal framework related to trusts in Arkansas is found in AR Code § 28-73-101.
What Is Trust Litigation in Arkansas?
Trust litigation refers to litigated cases in which there are arguments between beneficiaries and trustees. Beneficiaries, for example, may believe that a trustee has violated the law or failed to keep them appropriately updated about inheritance issues through a trust. Some relatives may not understand the terms of the trust and others may have legitimate claims about estate litigation issues. For example, if a trustee engages in self-dealing or other illegal actions, they could be held personally liable for the losses that the trust incurred as a result of their actions. Retaining a Arkansas trust litigation lawyer is the best way to protect yourself in this situation.
Understanding Trustee Responsibilities in Arkansas
The vast majority of trust disputes have to do with claims over trustee responsibilities. Trustees owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of a trust which includes a duty of loyalty, a duty of care and a duty of full disclosure. A trustee is responsible for administering and distributing assets held inside a trust in accordance with the terms of the trust and the law. Those beneficiaries are individuals who receive assets from a trust.
Causes of Actions for Trust Litigation in Arkansas
Legal disputes are usually associated with the administration of trusts by trustees when it comes to trust litigation. The types of actionable causes usually brought in a trust litigation case can include:
- Breach of fiduciary duty, such as pursuit of beneficiary claims against a trustee, defense of trustees who have had lawsuits lodged against them or arguments over ineffective or improper trust management.
- Accounting actions which can involve beneficiaries petitioning the courts for a full accounting of trust assets or defending trustees who have been accused of wrongdoing.
- Lack of capacity which questions the very basis of the trust itself as far as whether or not it was granted with appropriate mental capacity.
- Undue influence which are arguments that improper influence over a person occurred with the intention of changing a trust in favor of another organization or individual’s assets.
- Trustee defense which involves defense of those trustees who have been accused of wrongdoing or violating their duties and responsibilities.
When a trustee has objections regarding the actions of a trustee, they are eligible to open a legal dispute and the trust can enter litigation. Likewise, trustees have the ability to defend themselves from these circumstances. You need the support of a trust litigation attorney in Arkansas if you find yourself on either side of these types of claims.
What Are Some Common Legal Dispute Examples for Trust Litigation?
There are many different kinds of circumstances that can open an Arkansas trust litigation case. In many cases you might attempt to resolve this directly with the trustee or with the beneficiaries before heading to court but you might have been unsuccessful in doing so and wind up in litigation at the end. Some examples of legal disputes can include:
- Failure by the trustee to provide an accurate or a timely reporting.
- Claims about excessive trustee compensation or pay they have taken out of the trust.
- Accusations of self-dealing, co-mingling of funds or theft.
- Claims against a trustee for failing to make distributions in a timely fashion.
- Claims from beneficiaries who argue that they are not receiving a proper share of assets from the trust.
In all of these circumstances, it falls to the support of an experienced trust litigation attorney serving Arkansas to help navigate the complex process of estate and trust litigation.