The role of a trustee is to uphold the rules and regulations of a trust set up by the owner of the trust or grantor. A trustee should always act in the best interest of the trust’s beneficiaries. If the trustee violates the terms of the trust, a breach of trust has occurred.
The Roles of a Trustee
When you appoint a trustee, you have confidence in their ability to act responsibly and fulfill their duties:
· Follow the terms of the trust
· Treat all beneficiaries fairly
· Do not use the trust for their own benefit
· Keep trust assets organized and divided
· Pay taxes and enforce legal claims on the trust
· Defend legal actions against the trust
If the trustee violates any of these responsibilities along the way, you must identify it as a breach of trust.
What to Do in the Wake of a Breach of Trust
If you have any reason to believe a breach of trust has been performed or threatened, go before the probate court. A beneficiary or co-trustee can report the breach of trust if the grantor has passed away. Here are some possible actions to take:
· Force the trustee to follow the rules of the trust.
· Compel the trustee to pay back any missing funds from the trust.
· Remove the trustee from the position.
· Suspend the trustee from their duties.
· Deny trustee compensation.
· Recover any lost property.
In addition, a trustee who has committed a breach of trust can be forced to repay lost assets. If the trustee made money during the breach of trust, they are forced to pay back the funds plus interest. They also must pay any profit that would have been incurred in the trust if the breach had not happened.
Punitive damages are also on the table meant to punish the trustee for their actions and the aftermath it caused.
Contact a Lawyer for Help
Are you ready to take action on a breach of trust regarding your trustee? Miles & Hatcher, LLP, can guide you through the steps of reporting a breach of trust and making things right. Call to schedule a meeting with our experts: (909) 481-4080.