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By: Scott Grossman on August 27th, 2016

Considering A Lawsuit Against A Trustee For Failure To Sell An Asset? Ask These Questions


As the person in charge of carrying out the instructions outlined in a trust, the trustee has an obligation to handle the trust assets in a reasonably prudent manner. This includes making an effort to ensure that assets are protected and productive. Many people think of this obligation as pertaining to a duty to invest trust assets with care so that they do not lose value and instead earn income for the benefit of the beneficiaries. It also applies, however, in situations where an asset should be sold as part of the trust administration process. When a trustee fails to sell an asset as instructed in the trust or when it would benefit the beneficiaries to do so, he or she may have breached a fiduciary duty.

Nine Questions to Ask Before Pursuing a Lawsuit Against a Trustee for Failure to Sell an Asset

As a beneficiary, any breach of duty on the part of a trustee is clearly upsetting. Beneficiaries may need to pursue trust litigation in order to ensure that their rights are protected. Before going this route as a result of a trustee’s failure to sell a trust asset, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Was there a willing buyer for the asset?
  2. Did the trust direct that the asset be sold within a certain time frame?
  3. Was the trustee given discretion as to when and under what circumstances to sell the trust property?
  4. Was an appraisal ordered on the asset to determine an accurate value?
  5. Was the willing buyer offering to pay a fair and reasonable price for the asset?
  6. Has the trustee created unnecessary delays in the sale of the asset?
  7. Have these delays impacted the overall value of the asset?
  8. Did the trustee properly market the asset?
  9. Has the delay in selling the asset caused financial harm to the trust assets, and as a result, to the beneficiaries of the trust?

Determining whether or not to pursue trust litigation as recourse to a trustee’s failure to sell a trust asset is difficult unless you have extensive experience in this field. Fortunately, you do not have to make this decision on your own. We are here to offer guidance. We encourage you to review the feedback from our former clients by checking out our client testimonials page today.

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