In a trust relationship, the trustee is the individual/entity who is entrusted with managing the assets in the beneficiaries’ best interests. A breach of trust, therefore, is a violation by a trustee of a duty the trustee owes to a beneficiary. While a trust may alter the scope of what duties a trustee owes, generally a trustee will always owe a duty of loyalty, good faith, diligence, and impartiality.
Under Missouri law, a breach of trust can warrant money damages being paid by the trustee or outright removal. Not every breach of trust warrant removal; the breach must be serious. A serious breach of trust may consist of a single act that causes significant harm or involves flagrant misconduct. Weldon Revocable Trust v. Weldon, 231 S.W.3d 158 (Mo. Ct. App. 2007). A trustee will not be removed for every violation of duty or even breach of trust where the fund is in no danger of being lost. State ex rel. Caulfield v. Sartorius, 130 S.W.2d 541 (Mo. 1939). There must often be a danger to the trust property.
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