Experienced Board-Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts and Estates Representing You In Trust Litigation
A trust is a complex financial instrument intended to avoid probate. The trust is created by a grantor (also referred to as a settlor), who normally appoints a trustee to administer the trust in the event of the grantor’s incapacity or death. The trustee must administer the trust in accordance with the terms of the trust and trust code. There are many kinds of trusts available, but many share the same legal requirements as to how they are administered. If the trustee fails to comply with these legal requirements, the beneficiaries of the trust may file a lawsuit to enforce the trust terms, remove the trustee and impose a surcharge on the trustee.
We assist the trustee with the administration of the trust and offer guidance relating to issues such as the alleged breach of fiduciary duty, accounting and required trust notifications, and represent the trustee in the event of a trust contest. At Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, our trust litigation and administration attorney can help the trustee navigate through this complex administration process and avoid trust litigation.
We also represent beneficiaries of the trust to protect their interests in the trust, including seeking legal remedies when the trustee breaches a fiduciary duty. The issues relating to trust litigation and administration can be complicated. The attorney representing your interests must not only possess the knowledge and experience to navigate through the trust administration process, but the attorney must also be a skilled trust litigation attorney to address the breaches of fiduciary duties by a trustee.
At Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, our board-certified specialist in wills, trusts and estates, who has been selected to Florida Super Lawyers in trust and estate litigation, can help assist you through the complexities of both trust administration and trust litigation. We have decades of experience assisting in resolving trust disputes or fully litigating the trust dispute in court, if necessary.
Helping The Trustee Avoid Trust Litigation
Serving as a trustee can be challenging, you are responsible for making sure that all beneficiaries of the trust know that it exists, managing the assets held by the trust, providing the beneficiary trust accountings, making discretionary decisions as to distributions to a beneficiary, making final distribution to the beneficiaries, filing tax returns and making sure that all applicable taxes are paid. Simple mistakes can result in a trust dispute and litigation to remove you as the trustee and subject you to personal liability. It is critical to seek the advice of a knowledgeable and experienced trust attorney when managing a trust. In the event of a dispute, not only is it important to retain an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in trust administration, but also a skilled trust litigator.
There are a number of matters to avoid in trust administration that fall under the heading of breach of fiduciary duty. These include:
- Failure to make proper and timely distributions: Whether the beneficiary is an heir, charity or other person, the beneficiaries of the trust are entitled to receive distributions from the trust in accordance with the trust terms and the Florida Trust Code. The failure to make the distributions in a timely manner may result in allegations of breach in fiduciary duty.
- Failure to administer: The trust document outlines how it should be managed, who receives funds and various other requirements. The Florida Trust Code imposes additional duties and requirements on the trustee. The trustee must follow these requirements and duties.
- Excessive compensation: Trustees are allowed to collect compensation from the trust for their time and effort. However, if the beneficiaries of the trust believe that the administrator is taking more compensation than is reasonable, they may sue and request a court to review the compensation and seek to remove and surcharge the trustee.
- Florida Trust Code: In addition to the trust terms, the Florida Trust Code establishes a wide range of duties that must be followed by the trustee. For instance, the trustee must provide annual accountings to the beneficiaries and, upon reasonable request, provide relevant information relating to the assets and liabilities of the trust to the beneficiaries. The trustee can also limit its liability to the beneficiaries through various trust notices as authorized by the Florida Trust Code.
A Knowledgeable And Skilled Trust Litigation Attorney Can Help You Protect Your Rights In The Administration Of A Trust and Trust Litigation.
It is important for both trustees and beneficiaries to protect their rights and interests during the trust administration process. Working with an attorney who has experience in trust administration and skills in trust litigation allows you to navigate this process with as little stress and time investment as possible.
At Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, we have vast experience in trust administration and trust litigation. We represent grantors, trustees, beneficiaries and family members in both the prosecution and defense of trust litigation matters. Our attorney, R. Craig Harrison, is certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in trust, wills and estates and has also been selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers every year since 2015 in trust and estate litigation.
Whether you are seeking an estate plan to minimize the possibility of trust litigation, a trustee administering a trust or a beneficiary of a trust, contact the legal team at Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison today for trust litigation services. We are available to meet with you at our offices located at the corner of Main Street and Orange Avenue in Sarasota, Florida. Call 941-366-3282 or contact us online to make an appointment.