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By: Scott Grossman on April 3rd, 2023

What is a Fiduciary Duty? 

If you haven't gotten a copy of the trust, there might be other problems in getting your inheritance. After you finish reading this guide below, you will know if you need to begin trust litigation and what you can expect moving forward.

Guide to Trust Litigation
A Fiduciary Duty is a legal duty to act solely in another party’s interests. Parties owing this duty are called Fiduciaries. The individuals to whom they owe a duty are called Principals. A Breach of Fiduciary Duty is a failure to act solely in the party’s interests when a Duty is owed. So what does that mean exactly?

Here at The Grossman Law Firm, we have assisted our clients, ensuring they know their rights and obligations to the trust. In other words, it means that as a beneficiary, a trustee is responsible for working in the best interest of you and the trust document. So what should I do if I suspect a trustee breached a fiduciary duty?

What to do if you suspect a breach of fiduciary duty? 

Beneficiaries shouldn’t hesitate to consult with an attorney if they suspect prior incidents of breach of fiduciary duty in probate. In addition, you may consider taking the following steps:

  • Obtain copies of the trust and all amendments.
  • Gather any documentation that supports the alleged breach by the trustee.
  • Request information about all trust assets.
  • Request copies of trust accountings.

This information will assist your attorney in evaluating whether the trustee committed a breach and whether you may have the standing to bring an action. It is crucial that, as a trustee, you follow your fiduciary duties, as you can be subject to removal or suspension as a trustee or surcharges.  

What is a fiduciary surcharge? The following is an overview:

  • A surcharge requires a fiduciary to pay money to the trust or estate.
  • A surcharge often results from items in a trust or estate accounting.
  • A surcharge is based on fees, expenses, or expenditures that the court disallowed or improperly made.
  • A surcharge can also result from financial losses.
  • Suppose the trustee or other fiduciary has no direct interest in the trust property. In that case, they must pay the surcharge with personal funds. That can amount to more than the trustee’s compensation for serving as fiduciary.
  • Beneficiaries can request interest as part of the surcharge based upon an appreciation that would have otherwise accrued.

A surcharge is one of several available options that beneficiaries can pursue when the trustee of a trust breaches their duty. 

More on your Trustee breaching their fiduciary duties.

If you would still like more information on Trust Litigation and removing a Trustee, check out our complete Overview of California Trust Litigation, available on our website. Or our article, “20 ways your Trustee can be breaching their fiduciary duties,” for a more in-depth examination of a trustee’s fiduciary duty. And if you have more questions about your rights as a Beneficiary and what you should know moving forward. 

It’s best to reach out as soon as possible. The longer you take, the more damage your trust could take. Please call us at (888) 443-6590, and we would be more than happy to see if we can assist you.

Still having some trouble, have any more questions, or want to talk to someone about your case, please give us a call or fill out our Get Help Now form below.