If you believe that you have grounds to challenge the very basis of a trust or the actions taken by a trustee on behalf of a trust, you may be able to initiate a lawsuit with the help of a Washington trust litigation lawyer. Trustees must meet the responsibility of appropriate care in exercising their functions.
Failing to do so can expose the assets in the trust and beneficiaries to losses and failing to adhere to these responsibilities can lead to a charge of breach of trust. The trustee could even be held personally liable for these circumstances, making it all the more important to verify your legal recourse available to you by speaking with a Washington trust litigation attorney.
Understanding Breach of Trust
One of the most common reasons to open a trust litigation case is claiming that the trustee has violated their responsibilities. Any omission or act by a trustee that violates the fiduciary duties or runs counter to the terms of the trust document itself could constitute a breach of trust. The breach of trust action is brought to the trustee directly and a finding of liability from the court could lead to a judgment against the trustee. The trustee is responsible for restoring the trust to the position it was in prior to the breach in the first place. Sometimes those assets can be directly returned to the trust but in other situations they may be gone, meaning the trustee has to personally submit their funds back to the trust.
Understanding Beneficiary Positions
Beneficiaries have a variety of different reasons why they may be disgruntled with the management of a trust. You can take an action directly against the trustee but it could be case that the trustee is not financially able to make restitution to the trust. This makes it all the more important to schedule a consultation with an experienced trust litigation attorney in Washington to understand the basics of filing such a suit and what kind of evidence can be used to show that the trustee acted irresponsibly.
What Is a Trustee’s Role?
A trustee has a responsibility to act in good faith and in the best interests of the trust beneficiaries. When it can be shown that they have been involved in self-dealing or other negative actions that have harmed the value of the trust, this information can become the basis of a trust liability claim. When a settlor trusts a trustee to manage assets for the benefit of their chosen heirs or beneficiaries, this individual is putting a lot of trust into the trustee’s ability.
It can be shocking to beneficiaries to realize that the trustee has engaged in a breach of trust. A liability claim might be the only way to hold this person accountable for the actions that they might have taken but not every trustee action leads to a lawsuit. It is also very complex to bring these kinds of cases and that is why it is important for trustees and beneficiaries alike to understand breach of trust claims. Trustees commonly face claims of misappropriation of trust funds, breach of trust, mismanagement, fraud, malfeasance, or breach of fiduciary duty. A knowledgeable trust litigation attorney in your area should be contacted as soon as possible no matter which side of the case you find yourself in.
Breach of trust refers to any self-serving, erroneous, negligent, intentional or retaliatory conduct that was undertaken by the trustee of a trust but ultimately led to harm or loss of trust assets. Misappropriation can encompass many different types of situations, both unintentional and intentional. Trustees have responsibilities to the trust as well as duties under the law. If you have further questions about how this could affect you, schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer.