A trust is a formal fiduciary relationship in which the creator of the trust transfers property into the trust to be managed by a trustee. That trustee should be a person that you hold in high esteem because of the level of responsibility they will have over trust assets. Even though a trustee does have some discretion in the management of trust assets, they must also meet specific requirements that show their respect for fiduciary duty.
The role of a trustee is to hold legal title over the assets and to hold those assets in a trust for the benefit of beneficiaries. Trustees have to meet a legal obligation known as fiduciary duty. Violating that duty exposes them to the possibility of being removed from their trustee role and being held personally liable. The trustee has fiduciary duties to both the beneficiaries and the creator of the trust. This means that trustees need to be prepared to engage with and respond to objections and complaints of the beneficiaries of the trust. A trustee should make sure that beneficiaries are appropriately informed regarding the management of the trust and all decisions related to it. Responding to beneficiary questions calmly and professionally can dramatically decrease the chances of trust litigation. If and when a trust dispute does emerge, hiring a knowledgeable trust litigation lawyer may be required. As a trust litigation attorney in Rhode Island can tell you, these cases can be very complicated and expensive.
Understanding the trust Litigation Process
Most disputes wind up in probate court when a beneficiary wants to have the trust amended or the trustee removed. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars and take years to resolve trust disputes. Communicating with beneficiaries about these concerns can save trustee’s trust and time. Those trustees who have already been accused of breaching their fiduciary duty should contact a knowledgeable trust litigation lawyer as soon as possible.
Reasons for Trust Litigation
Most trust issues turn into disputes because trustees do not properly understand their fiduciary duties due to lack of experience serving in this role and do not take the necessary time required to understand their obligations. Likewise, many beneficiaries fail to understand trustee fiduciary duties. Retaining an experienced trust litigation lawyer might be the only way to resolve escalating conflicts. Support from a legal professional can help with advice on trust administration, representation in trust contests, litigation regarding issues of incapacity or undue influence, assisting trustees with preventing as well as handling current disputes, and assessment of claims by beneficiaries.
The trust laws in Rhode Island are extremely complicated and therefore, you need to be prepared to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who has handled many cases like this before. The support of a lawyer can help you to clarify your initial questions and decide whether or not the alleged actions undertaken by the trustee have violated the law or the trustee’s fiduciary duty. Do not hesitate to get help from an attorney as this may be instrumental in helping you to prevent a dispute from getting worse.
Since trust litigation depletes the assets inside the trust, you need to have a lawyer at your side for any possible disputes or claims against the trust.