Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorneys

Trustees and executors have a duty to act in the best interests of a trust and its beneficiaries. If you have concerns with the actions of a trustee, our breach of fiduciary duty attorneys at RMO can advocate for you and build a case to protect your rights and interests while upholding the dignity of the trust.

What is A Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorney?

A breach of fiduciary duty attorney is one who works closely with cases surrounding trust management and protecting the interests of clients against trustees or executors failing to uphold their legal responsibilities. These attorneys handle situations that encompass a variety of fiduciary relationships including trust administration.

A breach of fiduciary duty attorney’s responsibilities can include building a case against trustees who step outside the bounds of their duties and defending trustees against potentially misguided claims. In either case, a breach of fiduciary duty attorney is committed to preserving the wishes of the settlor, or creator of the trust, and upholding the intentions of the trust.

If interested parties in a trust suspect misconduct from a trustee or other fiduciaries, a breach of fiduciary duty attorney can step in to build a case against them and ensure the interests of a trust are protected. Our team at RMO works diligently to provide personalized support to clients in these types of trust disputes and protect the assets involved.

What Does a Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorney Do?

A fiduciary duty attorney safeguards the trust’s interests and the beneficiaries’ rights. At RMO Lawyers, our team of fiduciary duty attorneys offers comprehensive guidance in various cases to advocate for our clients.

Legal Experience

Breach of fiduciary duty attorneys have specific experience in handling trustee misconduct cases and can provide appropriate legal guidance in context. RMO Lawyers have extensive experience in navigating trust administration and litigation processes, whilst protecting people and defending their family legacies. Our track record of successful outcomes for our clients speaks to our ability to represent clients and safeguard their interests

Case Evaluation and Strategy Development

Using our Proven Process, the attorneys at RMO will investigate the facts and gain a deep understanding of the situation and involved parties’ dynamics, then we will apply our findings to case law to best support your claims. Next, we will employ our strategy in and out of the courtroom aimed at achieving your goals. At RMO, we constantly aim to communicate with our clients every step of the way. Ultimately, together we will work towards a solution, bringing the best possible outcome for those involved.

Remedies and Legal Recourse

In cases of breach of fiduciary duty, the most common form of monetary compensation is compensatory damages, which are intended to reimburse the victimized party for any losses incurred as a direct consequence of the breach. Additionally, fiduciaries may also be ordered to pay punitive damages, which are designed to punish the breaching party and deter future breaches.

Furthermore, double and treble damages may be applicable in certain scenarios. If awarded, the amount of compensatory damages the fiduciary must pay will be doubled or tripled.

In addition to paying damages, the fiduciary may also be required to reimburse the principal for any fees and costs they incurred during the breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit. This encompasses payments made to legal counsel and expert witnesses, along with filing fees and court costs. The specific type of damages that can be recovered will depend on the facts of each case. 

Our lawyers at RMO will work to identify areas of misconduct, understand the damages, and pursue appropriate restitution for the trust.

Collaborative Approach and Client Support

An attorney should ensure their client has a firm understanding of their legal rights and their pathway to potential recourse. RMO Lawyers make it a point to consult with our clients so we can understand the context of their case and their goals and objectives, protect their interests, and maintain transparency through the legal process.

Common Breach of Fiduciary Duty Disputes

A breach of fiduciary duty can take many forms and lead to a variety of potential disputes, including cases of self-dealing or mismanagement of trust assets. RMO’s breach of fiduciary duty attorneys provide guidance in all of the following scenarios.

Misappropriation of Funds

Trustees and executors have designated control over funds to ensure the trust is managed appropriately, and there are cases where this responsibility may be misused. Our attorneys will investigate your case to ensure that funds are allocated properly and in alignment with the trust.

Conflict of Interest

Conflicts of interest may arise when a trustee or executor acts for their own benefit rather than for those they are supposed to serve. Our fiduciary duty attorneys help clients navigate the complexities of a conflict-of-interest case and offer guidance to preserve the best interests of the trust and its beneficiaries.

Failure to Disclose Information

Part of a fiduciary’s duty is to disclose important information surrounding a trust and maintain transparency throughout the administration process. RMO lawyers can represent clients in instances where a fiduciary fails to disclose information they should share with interested parties, like actions against the trust or accounting documentation.

Self-Dealing

Fiduciaries may wrongly engage in transactions or manage assets to benefit themselves at the expense of the beneficiaries of the trust. Our attorneys will help uncover evidence of self-dealing and build a case to ensure clients are protected against trustees mismanaging assets in the trust.

Non-Disclosure Agreements and Confidentiality Breaches

Breaches of fiduciary duty may involve violations of non-disclosure agreements or actions that break confidentiality and compromise information related to a trust. We’ll work with our clients to navigate these breaches, enforce confidentiality, and ensure assets are safe from outside influence.

Negligence and Breach of Duty of Care

A trustee may breach their duty of care if they fail to fulfill their obligations surrounding trust administration. For example, if they fail to provide necessary accounting documentation to the state or accumulate penalties for failing to pay taxes around the estate. Our team at RMO Lawyers will help build a case against negligent trustees.

Fraudulent Conduct

Instances of fraudulent conduct among fiduciaries can include embezzlement, forgery, or other deceptive practices taken for personal gain. Our attorneys can help clients uncover evidence of fraudulent conduct and asset mismanagement to build a case against a trustee and ensure the rightful distribution of assets as outlined by a trust.

When Should I Contact A Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorney?

A breach of fiduciary duty can threaten the integrity of a trust and overrule the interests of the settlor, or creator of the trust—contacting an attorney can help you address these concerns, ensure effective trust management, and seek appropriate recourse. The consequences of a breach of fiduciary duty can affect several interested parties in a trust, creating various situations where an attorney is valuable.

You should contact an attorney if:

  • You think a trustee has mismanaged funds surrounding a trust
  • A trustee has failed to disclose information to interested parties
  • A trustee fails to uphold the interests of the trust
  • A trustee stops communicating or providing updates
  • You think a trustee has been negligent in their trust management
  • You believe the trustee has overreached by making decisions that were beyond their authority.
  • You suspect the trustee has manipulated or omitted information to conceal something
  • You are a trustee who has been accused of breaching your fiduciary duty
  • You are a trustee who is being wrongfully accused of misconduct

Trust management is a complex process, and there are many cases where it may make sense to contact a breach of fiduciary duty attorney. If you think you may benefit from the support of a fiduciary duty attorney, schedule a free consultation with us here at RMO to discuss your current case.

Our Case Results

RMO has a proven track record of protecting people and defending legacies.

TRIAL VICTORIES

TRUSTEES

PROBATE ESTATE EXECUTORS & ADMINISTRATORS

BENEFICIARIES & HEIRS

SPOUSES

CONSERVATORSHIPS/GUARDIANSHIPS

PROBATE APPEALS

FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE

TRIAL VICTORIES

TRUSTEES

PROBATE ESTATE EXECUTORS & ADMINISTRATORS

BENEFICIARIES & HEIRS

SPOUSES

CONSERVATORSHIPS/
GUARDIANSHIPS

PROBATE APPEALS

FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE

Trust Amendment Invalidated for Undue Influence
After trial, awarded a seven-figure judgment, plus attorney’s fees and costs on behalf of the elderly niece of the decedent, where auntie’s neighbor/caregiver used undue influence to connive her way into becoming the primary beneficiary of her trust shortly before she passed.
Defense of Trustee Against Breach of Fiduciary Duty for Imprudent Investments
Defended the successor trustee of a family trust against claims from his brother that he had breached his fiduciary duty to invest trust assets prudently when a concentrated commodity position he amassed lost essentially all its value swiftly. The probate court denied the charge on evidence presented by RMO that the trust’s broad investment powers and the deceased settlor’s speculative investment meant there the investment loss could not constitute a breach.
Recovery of Stolen Trust Property + Double Damages and Attorney’s Fees
Representing the successor professional fiduciary trustee, secured a seven-figure probate court judgment, plus double damages, attorney’s fees and costs in recovering real property that had been transferred and stolen by an unscrupulous trust beneficiary.
Addressing Grandma’s Stolen Home
On behalf of the granddaughter administrator of grandma’s probate estate, secured a judgment against grandma’s daughter and son-in-law to recover title to grandma’s home and monies wrongfully withdrawn against the property.
Dependent Adult Financial Abuse Remedied
Secured the intestate probate estate of our clients, the rightful heirs of their cousin’s estate, who had fallen prey to an ex-con drug dealer “friend” who had coerced the cousin to sign will documents while dying in his hospital bed.
Thieving Neighbor’s Financial Elder Abuse Rectified, With Double Damages
Representing the institutional successor trustee of a family trust, obtained a financial elder abuse judgment against a neighbor “friend” abuser who had taken significant sums of money from an elderly man just months before he died, including double damages interest, attorney’s fees and costs.
Previous slide
Next slide
Summary Adjudication of Disinherited Beneficiary’s Trust Contest
Swiftly secured the dismissal of a trust contest of a disgruntled, disinherited trust beneficiary on a motion after strategically allowing the trust contest period to expire before serving a notice of proposed action to distribute trust assets to the trust’s remaining beneficiaries and nothing to the disinherited beneficiary.
Secured Family’s Business Legacy
Representing the successor family trustee, secured the generational family business for the decedent’s heirs by acquiring from a disgruntled beneficiary their interest in the family business on extremely favorable terms that will allow the family to continue operating the family business for future generations to come.
Defense of Financial Elder Abuse Claim Against Surviving Spouse Trustee
Successfully defended a surviving spouse trustee against financial elder abuse and other claims made by family members who said she had fraudulently transferred assets to herself from her late husband’s trust and estate.
Prevented Trustee Removal for Badly-Lawyered Trust Accounting
Staved off suspension, removal and surcharge for a trustee who had failed to properly or timely provide court-ordered trust accountings to trust beneficiaries and was staring down an imminent deadline, as well as suspension, removal and surcharge.
Trustee Removal for Fraud
Neutralized and secured removal of a hostile co-trustee who was attempting to bilk our client’s trust of millions of dollars through a series of fabricated claims.
Thieving Trustee Removed and Surcharged
Secured removal of a thieving co-trustee daughter whose malfeasance left her own mother destitute and unable to pay her bills, including recovery of the stolen assets, attorney fees and costs.
Trust Beneficiary Dispute Squashed & Partition Avoided
Swooped in on behalf of an institutional trustee after years of protracted litigation to secure a decision from the Los Angeles probate court to end a years-long dispute between feuding siblings over the distribution of their parents’ estate, avoiding distribution of assets in-kind, which would have only resulted in partition.
Sub-Trust Allocations Defended
Client’s mother survived step-dad and succeeded him as trustee of their family trust. After mom passed, step-dad’s children alleged she had improperly allocated trust assets to favor her survivor’s trust, which went to our client, over the marital trust, which went to step-dad’s children. Using historic appraisals and valuations, demonstrated the disputed allocation was reasonable, resolving the dispute.
Inept Trustee Removed & Client Appointed Successor Trustee to Save Estate
Non-responsive and ineffective trustee who had done little to nothing to administer the trust or protect trust assets from waste following decedent’s passing was removed and our client appointed as successor trustee by the probate court, avoiding further damage.
Racist Trustee Removed and Surcharged
Removed and obtained surcharge of a non-beneficiary family trustee who hurled racial epthets at our client, refused to account, and tried to sell the house intended for our sole trust beneficiary client out of spite, securing the home for our client and her family.
Previous slide
Next slide
Mom’s House and Legacy Saved from Foreclosure
Prevented foreclosure of mom’s house - the estate’s only significant asset - by securing ex parte appointment as Special Administrator and then obtaining a temporary restraining order preventing the home’s foreclosure so the property could be sold, securing mom’s legacy for her children and grandchildren.
Family Jewels Recovered
On behalf of a professional fiduciary, convinced the probate court to award our client double damages, attorney’s fees and costs in addition to recovery of significant personal property wrongfully taken from - and refused to be returned to - the estate.
Previous slide
Next slide
Saving the Family Farm
Helped family members recover ownership of the multi-million dollar family farm that had been transferred out of an irrevocable trust improperly by an unscrupulous trustee through the fraudulent use of a decanting statute.
Estate Administrator’s Fraudulent Probate Accounting Revealed
Represented decedent’s children in a contested probate accounting over various expenses the administrator attempted to charge against the estate, and then further successfully obtained an order from the court shifting a portion of the client’s fees and cost to several unrepresented heirs through a “common fund” theory of fee recovery.
“Death Bed” Trust Amendment Thwarted
Within weeks, secured evidence sufficient to convince the surviving step-parent perpetrator of a “death bed” trust amendment that disinherited our client to abandon the amendment and pay our client his high seven-figure inheritance.
Holographic Trust Amendment Neutered
Secured summary judgment on behalf of a trust beneficiary where the trustee claimed a holographic trust amendment halved our client’s inheritance, resulting in our client receiving her full inheritance and the trust paying her attorney’s fees and costs.
Invalidated Assignment of Elder Beneficiary’s Interest
Secured an elderly client’s rightful inheritance from her brother’s estate, invalidating the ill-gotten assignment the brother’s widow and her attorney had secured from her using subterfuge and without advising her to seek her own counsel.
Disputed Heirship Recognized
Effectuated heirship for the secret scion daughter of the decedent, who learned of his daughter only late in life and came to celebrate their relationship and hold her out to his community and confidants, but refrained from sharing their relationship with his wife and daughter, which led to disputed heirship after he passed.
Another “Death Bed” Trust Amendment Avoided
Within 45 days of engagement, secured 125% of our clients’ original bequests, plus attorney’s fees and costs, from their long-time friend’s estate after the 85 year-old decedent’s new “husband” unduly influenced the creation of a trust amendment to take the entirety of the estate for himself.
Previous slide
Next slide
Third Time’s The Charm - Eight Figure Trust Saved for Surviving Spouse
Represented the surviving spouse of her deceased husband’s high eight figure trust estate, which, through some ill-advised estate planning, had left the client as a co-fiduciary with her estranged stepson and a bungling property manager. Prior litigation with previous counsel resulted only in our client’s resignation, which allowed the bunglers to further waste trust assets. Secured a final, global resolution for the surviving spouse that secured the resignations of the “bad” trustees and replaced them with an institutional trustee who is working to remedy their bad acts and save the estate.
Long Overdue Child Support Secured from Deadbeat Dad’s Estate
Represented former spouse in collecting long-unpaid child support through creditor’s claim procedure from her ex-husband’s estate.
Retirement Benefits Secured for Surviving Spouse
Represented the surviving spouse in successfully defending her status as beneficiary of her deceased husband’s retirement benefits against contest by the decedent’s former wife and children, who had claimed lack of capacity and undue influence.
Disposed of Interloping Ex-Spouse’s Trust Contest
Represented the surviving spouse trustee of her deceased husband’s trust against a trust contest on the grounds of incapacity and undue influence by the husband’s first wife - and his children from that marriage - all of whom had been disinherited by the decedent. Deployed tried and true probate litigation tactics to put the interlopers to task, which resulted in the court dismissing their claims, saving significant time and money.
Previous slide
Next slide
Online Romance Fraud Halted
Established an emergency conservatorship of the estate of a divorcee who had been ensnared by Nigerian fraudsters,who had infiltrated, isolated, defrauded and unduly influenced her into sending them millions, leaving her destitute and unable to buy food.
Conservatee Protected, Financial Advisor Fraudster Barred from Industry
Represented a court-appointed guardian ad litem in securing a prosecution agreement with counsel for the conservator of an institutionalized dementia patient who was taken advantage of financially by her financial advisor, leading to his permanent bar from the financial services industry.
Protected Elder Father from His Own Daughters
On behalf of his wife, established conservatorship of an elderly man over the protests of his daughters, who were his attorneys-in-fact and nominated conservators, living rent-free in his properties, and had repeatedly threatened to withhold caregiving. Secured ex parte suspension of the daughters’ powers of attorney and appointment of a private professional fiduciary to protect dad, which was granted by probate court.
Grandmother Safeguarded
Secured appointment of a private professional fiduciary for grandmother on behalf of grandson, and over the objections of grandson’s aunt, who, along with her husband, had been exploiting grandma financially, securing grandma’s return home and well being.
Guardianships for Kidnapped Parent
In two separate cases, established a guardianship for our client on behalf of their parent after the parent was secretly moved across state lines by our clients’ siblings so the kidnapping sibling could take financial advantage of the parent.
Conservatorship Thwarted
Defeated wife’s attempt to have herself appointed as conservator for husband when dad resisted wife’s efforts to unduly influence him to change his estate plan in her favor.
Conservatorship Financial Abuser Defeated
Defeated financial abusing neighbor’s attempts to establish himself as conservator for his elderly neighbor, from whom he had transferred her properties into his name, added himself to her accounts, and changed her estate planning documents to name himself as executor, trustee and sole beneficiary.
Parents Protected from Feuding Daughters
Represented the private professional fiduciary appointee in securing appointment in contested conservatorships for mom and dad where the parents had become the victims of their daughters’ infighting and efforts to control them and their finances.
Two Dads Protected from their Feuding Sons
In separate cases, secured appointment of a private professional fiduciary to serve as conservator for each dad to protect him from a ne'er do well son who was taking advantage of him financially.
Conservatorship for Wandering Mom
On behalf of daughter, established conservatorship for mom, whose dementia manifested itself in part in wandering, over the objection of mom’s live-in boyfriend, who failed to protect mom from wandering and, investigation showed, was taking financial advantage of mom.
Previous slide
Next slide
Jurisdiction ≠ Forum Non Convenience
In a published opinion, obtained reversal of a lower court decision confusing jurisdiction with forum non conviens, re-establishing the trust beneficiary’s right to continue prosecuting his fraud, undue influence, and financial elder abuse claims.
Settlement Approved, Confirmed and Enforced
Represented trustee, at trial and on appeal, to enforce a settlement agreement addressing his co-trustee’s a breach of fiduciary duties, after the offending co-trustee fraudulently claimed he had satisfied his obligations under the agreement.
Trust Contest Win Buttressed
Successfully defended trustee and sole beneficiary against trust contest by disinherited heir. Then, when the trial judge erroneously entered judgment creating potential exposure for subsequent litigation, prevailed on appeal to modify the judgment to insulate the trustee from any possible further litigation.
Life Insurance Proceeds Confirmed as Trust Asset
Represented trustee of irrevocable trust in a published appellate decision confirming the trust could be funded properly with life insurance proceeds even though all formalities typically required by the terms of the life insurance policy had not been satisfied.
Previous slide
Next slide
Forged Estate Planning Documents Disregarded
Secured the estate of our client’s late father, who had been victimized by childhood friends who had forged estate planning documents to steal his estate from his family.
Fraudulent Property Transfers Invalidated
Secured return of our client’s home value after her daughter and son-in-law moved into the home under the guise of “helping” her, only to defraud her into signing documents signing her home over to them, after which they forced her out of her home.
Caregiver “Girlfriend’s” Grift Righted
Recovered the home of an infirm, institutionalized senior who had been victimized by his “girlfriend,” an opportunistic volunteer at his care facility, securing his golden years.
Previous slide
Next slide

Who Can Hire a Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorney?

Trustee misconduct or mismanagement can affect several interested parties in a trust. At RMO, we support all of the following clients in breach of fiduciary duty cases.

OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

Additional interested parties with a legitimate interest in a trust may include conservators, guardians, or charitable organizations listed as beneficiaries, among others. Our lawyers at RMO can support these parties in addressing breaches of fiduciary duty that affect their rightful access to assets of the trust.

TRUSTORS OR SETTLORS

Successor trustees may find evidence that a trustee in the role before them had breached their fiduciary duty before relinquishing their role. In this case, they can seek the support of our attorneys to pursue legal action on behalf of the trust.

CO-TRUSTEE

A co-trustee may observe actions from another trustee that breach fiduciary duty. If they suspect misconduct or trust mismanagement from the other party, they may contact our lawyers at RMO to open a case and protect the trust.

SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION

Be advised that the RMO Client Relations Team will reach out prior to your scheduled time, as our policy requires that we gather additional information concerning the parties to your case before we can confirm your consultation. In the event that we are unable to reach you, regrettably, we will need to cancel your requested consultation.

Communication Disclaimer

Please note that communications by you to RMO LLP or any of its lawyers through this website do not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the firm. Do not send any privileged or confidential information to the firm through this website or otherwise until instructed in writing from us to do so. 

FAQs About Breach of Fiduciary Duty Law

While hiring a breach of fiduciary duty trust or estate attorney can significantly mitigate the risk of potential claims, it cannot ensure you avoid a potential claim. Having a knowledgeable attorney can help trustees, executors, and other fiduciaries fulfill their duties in accordance with the law, minimize the likelihood of errors or misconduct, and provide guidance to issues before they escalate into full-blown legal disputes.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty is a very serious accusation. The most frequent penalties for breach of fiduciary duty include suspension or removal as trustee or executor and the payment of money damages, attorney fees, and court costs.

Read more

Breach of fiduciary duty in a trust or estate case can potentially lead to criminal charges if the actions of the fiduciary involve fraud, theft, or other criminal acts. While breaches of fiduciary duty are typically addressed through civil litigation, certain egregious offenses may warrant criminal prosecution, especially if they involve intentional misconduct or exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

FROM THE BLOG

Right of survivorship attorney or lawyer near me

How Do You Prove Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

If a fiduciary fails to act in the beneficiary’s best interest, they have likely breached their fiduciary duty. An experienced trust litigation attorney can help you determine if you have…

Sibling stealing from estate what to do - RMO Lawyers and Trust Attorneys

The Trustee’s Guide to Breach of Trust Claims

Trustees commonly face claims for breach of trust, misappropriation of trust funds, mismanagement, malfeasance, fraud, or breach of fiduciary duty. If you’ve been…

What Is a Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuit?

A fiduciary duty is a legal obligation that one party has to another to act in their best interests. This duty is typically seen in relationships where there is a power imbalance, such as…