A fiduciary is someone who serves as a representative or decision maker for someone else. A Trustee, Personal Representative and Attorney in Fact are all examples of fiduciaries. A fiduciary owes a duty or responsibility to act in the best interest of the individual (trust or estate) that they are representing. They must not engage in any acts of self-dealing, but rather exercise the utmost care in carrying out their responsibilities. Fiduciary litigation is any kind of lawsuit which involves an action against, or on behalf of, a fiduciary.
Some examples of fiduciary litigation include:
- Trust Contest
- Will Contest
- Trust Accounting
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Action for Accounting Under Durable Power of Attorney
- Lack of Capacity
- Undue Influence
- Discovery of Assets
- Removal of:
- Personal Representative
- Family Settlement Agreements
When to start
If you believe that someone who is in charge of a trust is not fulfilling their fiduciary duties, it is best to call sooner rather than later. Alternatively, if you are a fiduciary and you have been sued, or beneficiaries are asking you questions that you are not comfortable answering without legal advice, that would be the time to contact Cripps & Simmons for help.
Where to begin
If you need assistance understanding your legal rights and obligations, then you should schedule an appointment with the experienced attorneys at Cripps & Simmons. You will meet with one of our experienced attorneys who will evaluate your situation and advise you about possible courses of action. These may include litigation or some other method of alternative dispute resolution.
What to bring
When you come to your initial consultation, you should bring with you any estate planning or other pertinent documents that define the role and responsibilities of the fiduciary.
- Trusts (Including Amendments)
- Wills & Codicils
- Powers of Attorney
- Family Tree / How people are related
- Correspondence from the Fiduciary
- Notes or Summary of Events on a Timeline
- Anything that you think important to the case
What to expect
You will meet with one of our experienced attorneys who will review your individual situation, discuss your personal goals and expectations, and provide a general list of options that might be available to accomplish your goals. Oftentimes in fiduciary litigation cases, a thorough analysis of your case can only take place after an initial meeting and subsequent review of the documents. At the conclusion of your initial consultation, you will be provided with an estimate of what it might cost to perform a more thorough review and be given an opportunity to decide if you want to proceed or not. After the review, we can meet again to decide how you would like to proceed, if at all.
We do not stop there
If you decide to retain Cripps & Simmons we will work with you to explain the litigation process, an expected timeline and to make sure that your rights are protected throughout the litigation process. If you are serving in a fiduciary role, such as a trustee, we will provide you with advice and guidance on how best to discharge your duties to the beneficiaries during any litigation.