Protecting Your Golden Years

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Is legal action always needed after a breach of fiduciary duty?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2021 | Asset protection |

It is not unusual for one family member to take on the role of caregiver and to spend more time with an elderly loved one than others. In some cases, this can happen because the person lives closest, has time or has needed skills that make him or her more ideal for providing care than other family members. However, if that caregiver oversteps and makes changes to the elderly loved one’s estate planning documents, that person may have breached his or her fiduciary duty.

Georgia readers may be interested in one woman in another state facing such a predicament. She stated that her aunt and uncle had no children of their own but had 15 nieces and nephews, all of whom were listed as beneficiaries in an original will. One niece took on the caregiver role for the elderly couple, and after the uncle’s passing, she allegedly changed the will in order to become the sole beneficiary of their $400,000 estate.

The aunt recently passed, and a cousin of the caregiver now wonders whether she and the other nieces and nephews should take legal action. However, some concerns she has include the following:

  • Whether pursuing legal action for an inheritance split 15 ways would be worth the effort
  • Whether her cousin is entitled to the assets since she spent five years caring for their aunt and uncle
  • Whether her aunt was in a sound state of mind when the will was changed, thus making the change legitimate

Finding out that a caregiver or other person in a similar position of power and authority breached his or her fiduciary duty is not something that sits well with most people. Still, as this case shows, the details can make it difficult to determine whether taking legal action could suit the situation. Because these scenarios can be so complicated, Georgia residents wondering whether they have reason to take legal action due to similar circumstances may wish to discuss their concerns with experienced attorneys.