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When Can Beneficiaries Pursue Trust Litigation Against a Trustee?

Posted on in Estate Planning

b2ap3_thumbnail_attn-erin-1.jpgBy: Attorney Erin Strohbehn

There are multiple types of trusts that can help protect assets. When a trust is created, assets will be placed in the control of a trustee, who will ensure that money or property will be properly distributed to the beneficiaries named in the trust. However, disputes can sometimes arise between the beneficiaries of a trust and the trustee. In these cases, beneficiaries will need to understand their legal options, including whether they can pursue litigation and what remedies may be available for a breach of trust.

Breach of Trust Litigation

A trustee owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of a trust. This means that they are required to act in the beneficiaries’ best interest when managing the assets in the trust and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Beneficiaries may believe that a trustee has committed a breach of trust if they failed to follow their fiduciary duty. For example, a trustee may be accused of mismanaging the trust’s assets or using assets in the trust to pay themselves more than what would be appropriate. A trustee may also have a conflict of interest when managing assets, such as by using the funds in the trust to invest in a business that they own.

If beneficiaries believe that a trustee has committed a breach of trust, they may pursue litigation to address this issue. If the court finds that a breach of trust occurred, one or more of the following remedies may be ordered:

  • The trustee may be ordered to follow the terms of the trust and perform their required duties, and they may be prohibited from committing any further actions that would be considered a breach of trust.

  • The trustee may be required to pay damages that would restore the trust to the position it was in before the breach occurred, or they may be required to turn over any profits they earned due to the breach of trust.

  • The trustee may be suspended or removed from their position, or an additional trustee or trust protector may be appointed to administer the trust or oversee the original trustee.

  • The compensation the trustee receives for administering the trust may be reduced or denied.

  • Property that was sold or disposed of by the trustee may be traced and recovered.

Contact Our Milwaukee, WI Trust Litigation Attorneys

Breach of trust cases can be complicated, and beneficiaries concerned about the management of a trust or the actions of a trustee can protect their rights and interests by working with an experienced attorney. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we can advise beneficiaries of their options and provide them with representation in cases involving a breach of trust. Contact our Milwaukee trust dispute lawyers today at 414-271-1440.

Source:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/701/x/1001


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