One of the primary purposes for creating a trust is to ensure that a person’s assets are well taken care of after he passes away. The trustee is charged with managing and protecting these assets until they are distributed to the intended beneficiaries. Consequently, there are instances where a trustee is dishonest and steals assets from the estate.
8 Ways Trustees Steal From Trusts
How can a trustee steal assets from an estate? The following is an overview of some of the more common methods.
- Pays himself an excessive amount of compensation. Unfortunately, trustee fees are sometimes subjective. Compare fees charged by local trust companies or banks to see if the trustee’s fees are reasonable.
- Moves assets from the name of the trust into his own personal name, without permission or direction by the trust.
- Pays income from the trust to himself without permission.
- Makes distributions of principal from the trust to himself without permission.
- Sells an asset of the trust to himself for less than fair market value.
- Fails to include a trust asset on the trust accounting and instead keeps the asset for himself.
- Reimburses himself inappropriately for certain expenses of trust administration.
- Misappropriates assets of the trust that are delivered to them for safekeeping.
Regardless of the method used, if you suspect that the trustee of a trust is stealing trust assets, it is important to act quickly. Any delay in taking action against the trustee could result in further loss of trust assets. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate this process alone, call our offices today.