What should you do if you believe that a trustee has embezzled from a trust or is otherwise not adhering to the administration of the trust terms? Embezzlement of a family trust is a serious matter and one that should only be handled by a Kansas trust litigation lawyer. You need to hold this trustee accountable and you may be protecting the overall assets inside the trust by taking actions sooner rather than later. Note that the rules related to trusts in Kansas are found in KS Stat § 58a-101 et seq.
Understanding Trustee Embezzlement in Kansas
Embezzlement of a family trust is the misappropriation of theft of funds that should belong to the trust but were stolen before the decedent passed or do belong to the trust. Embezzlement does carry criminal penalties but a Kansas trust litigation lawyer will only handle the civil aspects of the case related to the monetary relief that should be paid back to the trust. A trustee has a legal responsibility to manage a trust and must make decisions carefully about assets inside the trust. A trustee cannot take funds from the trust for themselves but they are eligible to receive trustee fees for management of the trust. This causes a great deal of confusion when it relates to beneficiaries of the trust and may be one of the most common reasons you need to consult with experience as soon as possible. Importantly, beneficiaries should know their rights when it comes to asking a trustee to provide a trust accounting which clarifies what has been done with trust assets especially if there are concerns that a trustee has been stealing.
If a trustee has been stealing money, then they are indeed in breach of their fiduciary duty and could be removed from the trustee position and charged for the amount that was stolen. It can be difficult to make these cases without the support of someone with experience. A trust litigation attorney in Kansas should be hired as soon as possible to give you clarity on the legal issues involved and how you might choose to proceed.
If you need to establish that someone is indeed stealing from a trust, you may need to look for evidence that the trustee engaged in some transactions that benefitted them but that those same actions did not benefit trust beneficiaries. A trustee, for example, might give out a loan from the trust to themselves or to a family member or close friend but this has no specific monetary or legal benefit for the trust beneficiaries. This means that you may need to hold this trustee responsible by showing that they engaged in misappropriation and self-dealing.
This can warrant removal of the trustee from this position and may be essential to protecting your financial assets. This is different from a criminal case involving misappropriation of trust funds. Breaches of trust can occur when a trustee, who is an appointed fiduciary, fails to fulfill the requirements of a trust. If a trustee does not meet their legal obligations or follow trust instructions, trust litigation can be used to remove, suspend, replace or even recover damages from the trustee. In most cases a breach of trust legal claim refers to a trustee’s breach of fiduciary duty. Trustees have a legal responsibility to act in a manner that any other reasonable trustee would in a similar circumstance, prioritizing the needs of beneficiaries first. A trustee cannot partake in transactions that don’t benefit trust beneficiaries or favor certain beneficiaries. Failing to do so means a trustee has breached their fiduciary duty and could be removed from this position. In these circumstances, you deserve to have the support of a knowledgeable and dedicated trust litigation attorney serving Kansas to help you.