Fiduciary Litigation in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Pinellas County and surrounding West Florida areas.Fiduciary Litigation in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota, Pinellas County and surrounding West Florida areas.
A fiduciary relationship arises when an individual is responsible for managing and protecting property for another individual or entity. When an individual acts as a personal representative of an estate, a guardian, a trustee, or holds a power of attorney, they are acting as fiduciaries. A fiduciary relationship involves specific duties, and fiduciaries are held to very high ethical and legal standards in carrying out these duties under Florida law. Such duties include distributing assets of an estate or trust in accordance with a decedent’s wishes, using their authority for the best interest of all interested parties, making sound financial decisions, avoiding conflicts of interest, and acting in good faith at all times.
A breach of a fiduciary duty occurs when the fiduciary is not acting in the best interest of the principal, which is the person depending on the fiduciary or “agent” to carry out acts as directed or in their best interest. Unfortunately, many fiduciaries do not fully understand their duties and obligations to the principal, and even worse, sometimes abuse their position for individual financial gain. Fiduciaries can violate their duties by failing to account, making improper investments, charging excessive fees, entering into business relationships that constitute self-dealing or otherwise creating a conflict of interest, or even misappropriating trust assets. When these violations occur, it is up to the beneficiaries to hold the fiduciary accountable for their actions.
To prevail on a claim for breach of fiduciary duty, the beneficiary must merely show that: (1) a fiduciary relationship exists, (2) a breach of that duty occurred, and (3) the beneficiary or beneficiaries were damaged by the breach. If successful, there are several remedies available to the beneficiary, which include, but are not limited to, compelling an accounting, surcharging the trustee for excessive fees, recovering trust and/or estate assets, removing the trustee or personal representative from their office, and even receiving a money judgment against the fiduciary for any malfeasance.
For more information regarding fiduciary litigation or a breach of fiduciary duty, please visit our informative topic panel to the left, or our FAQ section listed above, and please schedule any consultation as needed. We schedule consultations by both phone and in person. Please keep in mind there are various time limitations relating to these sort of disputes, so do not delay in educating yourself and advancing your rights.