Trustee Defense Removal

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Trustee Defense & Removal

Being a trustee of a trust can be a difficult and stressful job. Ingrained family dynamics, petty jealousies, egos, and even resentment among siblings at the fact they were not designated in the trust to be trustee can make beneficiaries difficult to work with and exceedingly hard to please.

You may find yourself unjustly accused of wrongdoing in any number of forms including but not limited to failing to follow the terms of the trust, failing to disclose material facts, failing to communicate and keep beneficiaries informed, and favoring personal interests over those of other beneficiaries, failing to account, mismanaging the trust, and even misappropriating assets of the trust. Beneficiaries can sue the trustee for, among other things, removal of the trustee, abuse in accounting, personal damages, and attorney’s fees. If you are a trustee and find yourself in this situation, you need to consult with and retain experienced legal counsel immediately.

Here at The Sterling Law Group, the defense of trustees in trust litigation is among the services we provide, and we have been doing it successfully for many years. Because the extent of a trustee’s duties and powers is determined by the trust instrument, we start with a thorough review of the trust and an analysis of, among other things, the following issues:

  • What express powers does it grant the trustee?
  • Whom does it designate as successor trustee and alternate successor trustees?
  • Whom does it specify as beneficiaries, and what are their rights under the terms of the trust?
  • How frequently does it obligate the trustee to account?
  • Does it authorize the trustee to hire attorneys to defend the trust and defend the trustee at trust expense?
  • Does it contain a no-contest clause? If so, does the lawsuit filed by the petitioning beneficiary fall within the terms of the no-contest clause potentially subjecting him or her to disinheritance?
  • Has it been administered by the trustee according to its terms?
  • Has it been breached by the actions of the trustee in any manner?
  • Does it limit the liability of the trustee to only cases of willful misconduct and/or gross negligence?
  • Was the lawsuit filed by the beneficiary brought in bad faith, thus potentially subjecting that beneficiary to paying the attorney’s fees incurred by the trust for defense?

Following an analysis of these and other issues and after a review of your situation, we devise a litigation strategy in consultation with you with the goal in mind of resolving the lawsuit on the most favorable terms attainable, and cost-effective manner possible.  Sometimes that means informal negotiation and settlement following a willingness to compromise on all sides. Informal negotiation is usually accomplished in private or court-ordered mediation.

Sometimes a more aggressive approach is needed. At the outset of litigation, beneficiaries and counsel representing beneficiaries tend to believe they are “holding all the cards.”  Generally, however, that is not the case.  Aggressive discovery in the form of requesting production of documents, seeking a court order to compel compliance where the beneficiary resists producing requested documents, deposing key witnesses, retaining and working with qualified expert witnesses (such as CPAs), and filing pre-trial motions where appropriate (such as demurrers, motions for judgment on the pleadings and motions for summary judgment) can all serve to soften stubborn parties and their counsel making them more reasonable to deal with.  What also helps in that regard is the fact that we at The Sterling Law Group approach every litigation matter as if it is going to trial and as if we are preparing it for trial.

If you are a trustee dealing with difficult and accusatory beneficiaries, do not attempt to handle the situation on your own.  Without the help of competent counsel, a trustee is at risk of being removed as trustee and incurring exorbitant expenses. Call us at The Sterling Law Group and schedule a consultation.

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Contact us today online or call 916-619-1995 for a consultation to discuss your concerns and learn more about our legal services.

    Our team of attorneys from The Sterling Law Group, A.P.C. have knowledgable experience handling Trust and Estate Litigation matters.

    Our Attorneys had experience in Litigation and Business and can handle your matters aggressively, expeditiously, and efficiently so you have a successful resolution.

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    Probate should be avoided, but is a process that must occur if your loved one has passed without a will or trust. Our knowledge of the process will allow avoiding many obstacles.

    There are strict timeframes to do a Will Contest, therefore, if you wait too long, you will lose your ability to bring an action.  You may need expert legal t advice guiding you.

    If you have suffered from a breach of fiduciary duty or if you stand potentially exposed to a claim of  Breach of Fiduciary Duty by others, we can help you.

    Our Financial Elder Abuse attorney understands you, your family, and the process you can go through even the psychological issues that came during the process.

    Without the help of competent counsel, a trustee is at risk of being removed, if you are dealing with a Trustee Defense Removal contact our law firm immediately.

    Do not hesitate to reach out to our Estate Planning attorneys from The Sterling Law Group, A.P.C. to handle carefully every aspect of your case.

    At The Sterling Law Group, A P.C. our Business Succession Planning Attorney can help you with determining what your business needs.

    If you had a small estate, it may be possible to access their assets using a Small Estate Affidavit, we can help in this or other Small Estate Planning matters.

      The Sterling Law Group and Stephen Slocum have represented my family more than once and provided us with excellent service. From early 2015 through early 2016, Mr. Slocum was...

      Kim and Jeff

      I had just lost my father by an unexpected illness and was named the trustee of his estate my emotions were fresh and discord was alive and well within the family unit left b...

      Tonya Lofton

      The team at The Sterling Law Group was there at the right time when I needed them. They were honest, wasn’t there to take my money and most importantly, kept me informe...

      Mmareka D

      This is the first time I used The Sterling Law Group and I would not hesitate to recommend them. Everyone from the front office staff to the attorneys handling my account wer...

      Beler Watts, Jr

      They are very skilled and professional Lawyers. They successfully helped me with my case. Thank you.

      Daniel

      Steve was very professional when it came to conservatorship. He helped me out of a tough situation and I appreciate him stepping in.

      Marek Cole

      Wonderful Staff and they know their stuff, great to work with, I would recommend to anyone and everyone!

      Sherrine

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