Legal Articles

Breach of Trust, Sole Discretion

Fiduciary and trust litigation can be very complex. In certain trust instruments, a trustee is granted “sole discretion” to do certain things. This language, however, can be very misleading. Even when a trustee is granted “sole discretion,” a trustee may be liable if the trustee willfully abuses his discretion, acts arbitrarily, fraudulently, dishonestly, or with…

Common Law Fiduciary Duties

Trustees, personal representatives, attorneys-in-fact, corporate directors, limited liability company managers, etc. owe fiduciary duties. Generally speaking, a fiduciary duty is where one person has a legal obligation to act in another’s interests. Whether a fiduciary duty exists is a question of law, while breach of fiduciary duty is usually a question of fact. Scanwell Freight…

Trustee Bond

A trustee’s bond is essentially an insurance policy which designates a sum of money that may be recovered to the extent a trustee mismanages a trust estate. For example, if a trustee has a bond, and misappropriates assets, a beneficiary may be able to initiate a claim for breach of trust and recover against the…

Power of Attorney Litigation, Attorney Fees

Power of attorney litigation often occurs in conjunction with trust litigation. While there are similarities between the fiduciary duties of a trustee and attorney-in-fact, there are different statutory regimes and differing duties. As a general matter, a trustee’s fiduciary duties are more stringent and comprehensive than the duties of an attorney-in-fact. Significantly, the power of…

Trust Beneficiaries, Necessary Parties, Trust Litigation

In most instances, trust beneficiaries must be parties to a lawsuit when the lawsuit relates to the conduct of a trustee and/or the trust’s assets. “A necessary [party] is one who is so vitally interested in the subject matter of controversy that a valid judgment cannot be effectively rendered without the party’s presence.” Jones v….

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