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    Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Damages California

    While every breach of fiduciary duty is not a crime, some breaches of duty can be charged as crimes under the California Criminal Code. Learn more!

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    Breach of Fiduciary Duty - What are the damages?


    Trustee Breach of Fiduciary Duty California

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    A Successor Trustee has a fiduciary duty and is given responsibilities from the probate court to carry out the wishes of the Trustor and Beneficiaries. The successor trustee must stay within their fiduciary duties of loyalty, impartiality, prudent investing, fiduciary accounting, defending against claims, and self-dealing are at the forefront before their wishes.

    A breach of fiduciary duty occurs when a trustee knowingly commits a breach of fiduciary duties (criminal intent) or is simply unaware or overwhelmed.

    If you are a trustee and need legal services, Hess-Verdon & Associates attorneys have been providing legal services throughout the state of California for over 30+ years.

    Call today at 888-318-4430 or fill out our contact form. Either way, the Hess-Verdon law firm will call you straight away and help you build an attorney-client relationship.


    State: Estate Litigation Attorney California

    Practice Area: Trust Litigation

    Southern California Counties: Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Kern County, Ventura CountyCentral California Counties: Santa Cruz County, San Benito County, Fresno County, San Joaquin CountyNorthern California Counties: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Sacramento County, Santa Clara County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County

    How do you prove breach of fiduciary duty?

    Contacting an experienced trust litigation attorney; otherwise, doing it yourself will not compel the other side to act.

    Complaint Breach of Fiduciary Duty Trustee

    Have a complaint regarding the Breach of Fiduciary Duty by the Trustee? If so, let’s go over some essential points of the Trust Administration process to lock down where the Trustee breached their fiduciary duty.


    Beneficiary’s always wondered, “Can a Beneficiary sue a Trustee?” The answer is, “yes, it is a fundamental and core right for a beneficiary to protect and uphold the wishes of the grantor.” It is still an uphill battle but is attainable if you are on the right side of the courts and act in good faith.

    Now, you can’t sue a Trustee if you will not benefit from the disbursement of the trust assets. So, if you are not an heir or beneficiary, you are not privy to the Trust document.

    Suing a Trustee for Breach of fiduciary duty

    However, if you are a Beneficiary, heir, etc., make sure your legal actions are warranted by speaking to a Trust Litigation Attorney. Suspecting fiduciary malfeasance and convincing the probate court is doable, but a tried and true trust litigator is necessary to combat the Trustee’s attorney. To prevail in a breach of fiduciary duty claim, you should prove the following elements:

    Duty – The Trustee has a duty of good faith and fair dealing, a duty of full disclosure.Breach – Breaches come in the following: self-dealing, misappropriation of Trust funds, neglect of responsibilities, and others.Damages – Beneficiaries should have suffered losses, for which the breach was the proximate cause.Key takeaway: The Trustee could use the estate’s funds to fight the complaint.Key takeaway: If the Trustee is found guilty of breaching their fiduciary duty, there can be civil and criminal liability, including paying back all Trust Administration fees, all sold assets, and so forth.

    What Constitutes a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

    What constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty? Well, first, let us go over the responsibilities of the Trustee, Executor, and Estate Administrators to understand their responsibilities better. First and foremost, any action a Trustee takes should show their efforts were for the Trustor and beneficiaries. Their duty of loyalty, impartiality, prudent investing, fiduciary accounting, defending against claims, and self-dealing are at the forefront before their wishes. Within the Trust are sections describing how the beneficiaries and heirs will receive their part of the estate. With that said, the Trustee should maintain transparency with the beneficiaries.

    So what constitutes a breach? Below are just some reasons to sue a Trust for breaching their fiduciary duty:

    Trustee refuses to give an accounting: When mismanagement of a Trust is at its highest probability, typically, the Trustee and Co-Trustees refuse to provide updates to the beneficiaries. Not giving periodic updates is a sure sign for seeking counsel. Note: The Trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or Trustee, to manage and hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries.Trustee stealing from a Trust: Stealing from a Trust, i.e., embezzlement, is a crime. Note: You cannot threaten to have someone charged criminally in hopes of taking advantage of their situation. Blackmailing exposes you to possible criminal liability.Self-Dealing – Self-dealing includes purchasing assets from the Trust, borrowing from the Trust even if it was repaid, investing in the Trustee’s own business, etc.

    Source : hessverdon.com

    A Guide to Breach of Trust Claims for Trustees • Law Offices of Daniel Hunt

    Trustees have a fiduciary duty under California law to make decisions for the benefit of the beneficiaries. When a trustee breaches this fiduciary duty,

    A Guide to Breach of Trust Claims for Trustees

    Trustees have a fiduciary duty under California law to make decisions for the benefit of the beneficiaries. When a trustee breaches this fiduciary duty, the beneficiary can file a breach of trust lawsuit against the trustee. These types of claims are commonly called breach of trust lawsuits. Breach of trust can involve any kind of negligent or intentional conduct on the trustee’s part that is self-serving, erroneous, or retaliatory. In a breach of trust claim, the beneficiary must prove that the breach of trust caused harm to trust assets or beneficiaries.

    Examples of Breach of Trust Claims

    Many breaches of trust claims happen when a trustee acts negligently. The trustee may fail to make the proper distributions to beneficiaries. A trustee may fail to properly invest the assets in the trust so they can earn a profit. In other cases, a trustee will fail to protect assets from loss, fail to ensure trust assets, or fail to comply with the terms set forth in the trust agreement. Trustees may fail to take appropriate financial or legal action when the trust assets are threatened in a lawsuit. In all of these cases, the trustee may be at risk of being removed as a trustee or by being charged for any loss.

    The Trustee’s Duties and Responsibilities

    Trustees have a duty to act in the best interest of the trust itself and of the beneficiaries. Once a trustee has accepted the duties of a trustee, he or she must administer the trust according to the trust agreement and distribute the trust assets to beneficiaries accordingly. Trustees must undertake all of the following basic duties and responsibilities reasonably:

    Administer the trust according to the terms of the trust agreement

    Act in the best interest of the trust and its beneficiaries

    Treat all of the beneficiaries impartially and fairly

    Not use the assets in the trust for his or her own benefit or profit

    Keep property owned by the trust separate from other property

    Take reasonable steps to enforce claims that are part of the trust property

    Take reasonable steps to defend the trust against legal actions that could result in a loss to the trust

    The Statute of Limitations on Breach of Trust Claims in California

    Every state has statutes of limitations, or time limits, limiting the amount of time a plaintiff has to bring a lawsuit. In California, the statute of limitation for breach of trust, misappropriation, malfeasance, or breach of fiduciary duty can be years, depending on the circumstances of your case. However, the statute of limitations for contesting a trust is 120 days after the person’s death who created the trust.

    Bringing a Lawsuit Against a Trustee

    Beneficiaries of a trust have the legal right to bring a lawsuit against the trustee for a wide variety of reasons. Remember, a beneficiary does not have to prove that the trustee intentionally harmed the trust assets or the beneficiary. They can prove that the trustee acted negligently or recklessly, resulting in harm to the trust assets or beneficiaries. As mentioned above, trustees are held to the highest legal standard, also called a fiduciary standard. In California, beneficiaries can sue trustees for all of the following types of actions:

    Failing to account

    Accounting irregularities

    Mismanagement of trust property

    Embezzlement Fraud Commingling funds

    Failure to keep beneficiaries informed

    Personally benefiting from trust assets through forgery, fraud, or coercion

    Giving inappropriate or suspicious gifts from the trust

    Subjecting the assets in the trust to unreasonable risk

    Not complying with the trust’s investing, distribution, or accounting directives

    No longer being of sound mind or ability to perform their fiduciary duties according to the trust agreement

    Damages Available in Trust Mismanagement Cases

    When a beneficiary suspects that a trustee has been mismanaging funds, they can petition for the trustee’s removal and replacement. The court may order the trustee to place the assets they took back into the trust. If the trustee spent the money on non-material items, the beneficiary may seek a money judgment instead. California courts have several different methods to obtain damages, including a constructive trust, a surcharge or reduction in the amount of the trustee’s inheritance share or fees from the trust, or a money judgment.

    Misappropriation of Trust Funds

    Misappropriation of trust funds is a common cause of action in breach of trust lawsuits. Misappropriation of trust funds happens when funds belonging to the trust are not deposited into the trust account. The trustee may deposit the funds into his or her own account or use the funds for purposes other than those approved by the trust agreement. In some cases, the trustee may use the funds to pay for their own expenses or purchase property from which they benefit.

    When a beneficiary brings a successful breach of trust lawsuit for misappropriation of trust funds, the offending trustee will have to pay damages. California courts try to put the beneficiaries back to the place they would have been if the breach had never occurred. The trustee may be required to use his or her personal funds to make the beneficiaries whole.

    Contact a Sacramento Trust Litigation Attorney

    Source : www.dhtrustlaw.com

    What if a trustee in California breaches their fiduciary duty?

    When a person in California creates an estate plan, one document they might consider executing is a trust. A trust is ... trust litigation

    What if a trustee in California breaches their fiduciary duty?

    by The Cohen Law Offices, PC | May 31, 2018 | trust litigation | 0 comments

    When a person in California creates an estate plan, one document they might consider executing is a trust. A trust is overseen by a trustee. However, after a trust is created, the trustee must uphold his or her fiduciary duty. The failure to do so could lead to trust litigation. The following post will provide a brief overview of how a trust is created, and what a trustee’s fiduciary duty entails.

    The creation of a trust is relatively straightforward, even if the terms of the trust itself are complex. In a trust, a person, the grantor, transfers legal ownership of the assets placed in a trust to the trustee. The trustee must manage these assets in a way that benefits the trust beneficiaries. Of course, with the wide variety of revocable and irrevocable trusts out there, the actual language of the trust sometimes needs to be quite complex in order for the trust to serve the purpose the grantor wants it to.

    When a trust is formed, the trustee owes a fiduciary duty towards the trust beneficiaries. This means that the trustee cannot engage in self-dealing or mismanagement of trust funds. The trustee must act in a manner that puts the beneficiaries’ interests first. If a trustee breaches their fiduciary duty, it could lead to trust litigation.

    If the beneficiaries to a trust have reason to believe the trustee failed to meet his or her fiduciary duties, the beneficiaries can pursue a lawsuit against the trustee for the damages they suffered. Unfortunately, trustees can breach their fiduciary duty even in the most carefully drafted trust. Such a breach could seriously affect the value of the grantor’s estate, and through that, the financial interests of the trust beneficiaries. So, when a trustee breaches their fiduciary duty, sometimes trust litigation is an option the trust beneficiaries will consider, as a means of recouping the damages they suffered.

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    Source : www.clo-law.com

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