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If a trustee breaches fiduciary duty, beneficiaries have rights

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2020 | Estate planning |

When administering a trust created in Georgia or elsewhere, various people will play a part. The trustee typically manages the trust, distributes assets and makes investments as deemed appropriate by the terms of the trust. The trustee also owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the trust, meaning that he or she should act in their best interests. Unfortunately, some trustees may participate in questionable activity.

The beneficiaries of the trust have some power over the trustee due to this duty that the trustee has to them. This means that if the beneficiaries believe that the trustee has acted in his or her interests rather than those of the beneficiaries or the trust, the beneficiaries have the right to take legal action. This action could include seeking compensation for damages resulting from the trustee’s mismanagement and filing a petition with the court in efforts to remove the trustee from the position.

The beneficiaries also have a right to know what is happening with the trust and its assets. While this does not mean that the trustee has to inform the beneficiaries of each action taken when it happens, it does mean that the trustee must create an annual report with specific details regarding any investments made, gains and losses, expenses paid by the trust, and any income made by the trust. If beneficiaries suspect that information is missing or fraudulent, legal action may be needed.

Though most people choose a responsible person to act as trustee, not everyone takes their fiduciary duty seriously. As a result, Georgia residents who are beneficiaries of a trust could find themselves dealing with an unscrupulous trustee. If so, they may want to remember their legal rights and explore their options for addressing any breach of duty on the part of the trustee.