Trustee Duty of Loyalty: Trust Opportunities

A trustee’s duty of loyalty extends to beyond assets actually owned by the trust. Thus, a breach of fiduciary duty and the duty of loyalty does not necessarily need to relate to assets owned by the trust.

By way of example, a transaction “not concerning trust property in which the trustee engages in the trustee’s individual capacity involves a conflict between personal and fiduciary interests if the transaction concerns an opportunity properly belonging to the trust.” Section 456.8-802.5, RSMo. The official commentary to the uniform trust code explains that this section prohibits the trustee’s pursuit of certain business activities or the purchasing of an investment that the facts suggest the trustee was expected to pursue for the trust.

This “opportunity doctrine” is typically associated with corporations and with their directors and officers. See Chemical Dynamics, Inc. v. Newfeld, 728 S.W.2d 590, 593 (Mo. Ct. App. 1987) (“the so-called corporate opportunity doctrine forbids a corporate director from acquiring for his own benefit an opportunity that would have been valuable and germane to the corporation’s business, unless that opportunity is first offered to the corporation”).

Scroll to Top