Breach of Fiduciary Duty California
San Francisco Probate Litigation Attorneys Protecting Beneficiaries
Executors, probate administrators and trustees are all fiduciaries. Therefore, they are legally obligated to act in good faith and solely in the best interest of beneficiaries. A breach of fiduciary duty occurs when the person designated to oversee probate estates or trusts fails to exercise due diligence in executing such duties. If you suspect your fiduciary is breaching his or her legal duties, then talk to us. Our probate litigation lawyers have over three decades of experience and can review your case to decide whether legal action is warranted.
What Are the Duties of Trustees, Executors and Estate Administrators?
Executors, administrators and trustees have important fiduciary duties owed to beneficiaries:
- Duty of Loyalty – This means that fiduciaries must administer the trust or estate for the sole interest of the beneficiaries.
- Duty of Impartiality – This requires fiduciaries to treat all beneficiaries equally or as required by the trust or estate documents. This may cause problems when a beneficiary is also acting as the fiduciary for others.
- Duty of Prudent Investment – Fiduciaries must make proper and prudent investment of the trust principle.
- Duty of Proper Fiduciary Accounting – Fiduciaries must maintain proper accountings of all investments and money going in or out of the trust or estate. These accountings can be reported annually or upon request of a beneficiary.
- Duty to Enforce or Defend Against Claims – The trustee, executor or administrator must legally defend or enforce against claims against the trust or estate.
- Duty to Avoid Self-Dealing – Fiduciaries cannot use the property in trust or an estate for their own purpose or benefit.
Violations of any of these responsibilities may constitute a breach of fiduciary duty. This is not an exhaustive list of fiduciary duties. Additional duties may include ensuring the trust and the use of special skills to invest and administer the trust, if and when necessary.
Examples of Breaches of Fiduciary Duties
Our Bay Area probate litigation attorneys have extensive experience in cases involving breach of fiduciary duty allegations. We understand that some breaches of fiduciary duty may be intentional fraud. However, typically, these breaches arise as the result of negligence, mismanagement or incompetence. The probate litigation practice at Triay Law Office can hold an executor, administrator or trustee accountable in cases involving, but not limited to:
- Acting in conflict with the best interests of the beneficiaries
- Demanding unreasonable compensation or attempting to profit from the fiduciary position without consent
- Failing to distribute funds in a timely manner
- Failure to properly invest or account for financial activities
- Failing to respond to requests for information by beneficiaries or other interested parties
- Negligently managing or valuing assets during the process of estate administration
- Removing property from an estate without approval
- “Self-dealing” or transferring assets from an estate to the fiduciary during the process of administering the estate
Contact Our San Francisco Probate Litigation Lawyers
Beneficiaries and other interested parties need to bring their claims as soon possible. The probate litigation attorneys at the Triay Law Office have compassion for grieving families. We represent clients throughout Northern California, including San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont, Alameda and Fremont. Unlike many other law firms with a probate litigation practice, we offer clients the option to pay attorney fees on an hourly or contingency basis. Whether you are a beneficiary looking to file a claim or a fiduciary seeking defense in probate court, contact our law firm. We can show you how the experienced probate litigators at Triay Law Office can help.