Nearly everyone owns assets. Assets can include houses, cars, stock, life insurance, and retirement accounts. These assets are known as “Our Estate”. Before we die we may choose to leave Our Estate to our children, family, and friends. To determine who gets what, we write wills or create trusts before we die. The person who gets a share of the estate is known as a beneficiary. The individual entrusted with the duty of transferring the estate to the beneficiary is known as a trustee or an executor.
For instance, you write a will that states how your estate or assets will be shared among your children. You’ll name one of your trusted children as the executor of the will. Which means that a particular child is then responsible for distributing those assets to all the beneficiaries according to the will. However, in the event the child (executor) goes against the Will and informs the other beneficiaries that there were no assets left at the time of your death, it will be necessary to find an attorney who specializes in fiduciary litigation.
What is Fiduciary Litigation?
A fiduciary is a person who represents the interests of a client in fiduciary litigation. A fiduciary can be an attorney, a personal representative or a trustee. A fiduciary has a duty to act in the best interest of the client they’re representing. Fiduciary litigation is a lawsuit on behalf of or against a fiduciary. The most common fiduciary litigations include:
- Will contest (caveat proceedings)
- Trust contest
- Breach of fiduciary duties
- Trust accounting
- Family settlement agreements
- Discovery of assets
What is Fiduciary Duty?
A fiduciary duty is described as a legal responsibility to act in the best interest of a client. Fiduciary, essentially, means trust. Therefore, an individual with fiduciary duties is legally required to maintain that trust. For instance, doctors have a fiduciary duty to represent or act in the best interest of their patients, and lawyers have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of their clients. Violation of fiduciary duty, whether accidentally or intentionally, is a breach of ethics, according to the law.
What do you need to successfully claim a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?
To successfully claim a breach of fiduciary duty, you must prove the existence of fiduciary duty, prove a breach of the fiduciary duty and prove the damages caused by the breach of the fiduciary duty.
What are the types of Fiduciary Duties?
Fiduciaries perform many different duties, and these depend on the nature of the fiduciary relationship. The types of duties include:
- A duty of loyalty
- A duty of good faith
- A duty of fair dealing
- A duty of impartiality
- A duty to delegate
- A duty to inform
- A duty to maintain accurate records
What circumstances Warrant the Hiring of a Fiduciary Litigation Attorney?
Not every fiduciary appointed to represent the interest of a client’s estate needs the services of a lawyer. Moreover, there are situations where you need to solicit the services of a lawyer who is a litigation attorney and is thoroughly knowledgeable in estate planning, wills, and trusts. Here are the circumstances that warrant the hiring of a fiduciary litigation attorney:
- Objection of the will
Objection of the will means the heirs are not happy with the terms of the will or they don’t trust the executor of the will. These two reasons can lead to the executor or fiduciary agent being involved in a lawsuit.
- If you’re named in a lawsuit
If your name appears in a lawsuit, you’ll need to hire a litigation attorney. The litigation attorney will analyze the lawsuit and institute measures to protect your interests and rights and ensure you get out of the lawsuit with minimal damage.
- Violation of fiduciary duties
As a fiduciary, it is your duty to act in the best interest of another party. If you violate your duties or don’t perform them as required, you may face a lawsuit and you’ll have to defend yourself in a court of law. If you know you have violated your fiduciary duty, you’ll need to hire a fiduciary litigation attorney. Our attorneys can rectify the mistake and prevent a lawsuit from being filed. They can help you resume your normal life and manage your duties. They also guide and advise you to ensure you’re discharging your fiduciary duties within the confines of the law.