Common Types of a Breach of Fiduciary Duty in Estate Planning

Couple planning for estate

In the past, estate planning was left to those with considerable wealth, but with the economic growth seen nowadays, even a seemingly small fortune can grow in a short while. You thus cannot afford to live without a will irrespective of what or how much own.

One of the critical issues to address in your will is the person who will manage your wealth after your passing. The law of fiduciary duty guarantees your estate is managed by whomever you choose according to your wishes.

The most common estate planning issues handled by a litigation attorney in Wichita nonetheless remain those related to a breach of fiduciary duty. Fiduciaries are, after all, only human and they sometimes get greedy and misappropriate your estate or can make genuine mistakes.

Here are the common forms of a fiduciary breach that might mar a deceased’s wishes.

Self-Dealing

In this form of breach of fiduciary duty, the fiduciary takes action where he/she knows that she will draw some benefit. This typically involves the use of a business’ assets or the investment of some of your assets for self-gain. In extreme self-dealing cases, some fiduciaries embezzle an estate’s assets.

Conflict of Interest

The fiduciary is required to place the estate beneficiaries’ needs before his/her own when managing it. If anyone apart from the estate’s beneficiaries’ benefits from its proceeds in any way, this will be considered a breach of fiduciary duty.

The courts will also consider it a conflict of interest if the fiduciary takes bribes and accepts other considerations so that he/she can sway decisions to favor one of the heirs.

Beneficiary Bias

The fiduciary’s duty extends to all the inheritors of an estate and should not favor any of them. There are, however, cases where the fiduciary has a close bond with one of the heirs and might thus be inclined to favor him or her in some of the decisions.

It is not always possible for all beneficiaries to get an equal share of an estate. If nonetheless one of the beneficiaries gets a shockingly higher return from an estate’s dealings compared to the others, this might show some form of bias.

Information Withholding

A fiduciary is by law allowed to act in his/her discretion provided it is for the estate’s good. The beneficiaries nevertheless should know all the details relating to these actions and the estate’s condition. Withholding information and handling transactions concerning the estate discretely amounts to a breach of fiduciary duty.

Negligent Mismanagement

Estate planning

Sometimes, a fiduciary will mismanage an estate or not attempt to manage it. If the fiduciary finds the estate’s management overwhelming he/she can get a professional to handle this at a fee payable from the estate.

Failing to properly manage an estate or get an expert to do so will constitute a breach of his/her duty as negligent mismanagement.

If any of the above forms of breach of fiduciary duty are affecting your estate, it is time to get a litigation lawyer. The courts will replace the fiduciary, and he/she will be held accountable for his conduct. The estate heirs will also be reinstated to the posts they held before the fiduciary’s misconduct.