An estate plan is meant to provide loved ones with a sense of safety and security while ensuring that their best interests are met as fully as possible. A lot of times estate planners try to achieve this by creating trusts where money is paid out until a certain condition is met, at which time the remainder of the trust’s assets will be released. That might sound like a pretty simple process, but given that these trusts are managed by someone other than the beneficiary, disputes regarding how trust funds are managed can and do arise.
Be aware of the fiduciary duty
A fiduciary is a person who is legally obligated to act in the best interests of another. So, when it comes to a trustee, he or she must act in a way that puts the trust and the beneficiary first. Sound like common sense? The sad truth of the matter is that many trustees mismanage trust assets, which can lead to depleted value and a beneficiary not receiving what he or she is entitled to. Here’s an idea of what a fiduciary should be doing?
Gathering evidence to prove breach
If you think you’re working with a trustee who is mismanaging trust assets, then you need to think about legal action. In order to succeed in fiduciary litigation you’ll need evidence that proves certain legal elements. To do so, you can look in a number of places. One of the best tactics is to simply follow the assets. If money is being pulled out of the trust fund for obvious misuse, then you can probably make your case pretty easily. But you’ll also need to assess the trustee’s motive, which can be a little harder. Here, you can seek out witness testimony and even depose the trustee to determine what his or her rationale is for the misuse of funds.
Dealing with issues pertaining to a trust can be stressful, especially if it’s left you without the assets your loved one intended you to have. Whatever you do, don’t just let these problems go. Instead, discuss them with an attorney who will put you first and put in the work to build the case you deserve.