Nashville View

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Estate Planning Attorneys Advising Individuals in Nashville and Beyond

Although great care is usually taken in choosing the individual who will carry out a person’s wishes once he or she is no longer able, sometimes that individual fails to live up to that responsibility or follow the law. When the entrusted person mishandles his or her duty as a trustee or executor in probate matters, family members or other beneficiaries may take legal action to hold him or her responsible. The estate planning lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC assist people in the Nashville area and elsewhere in Williamson and Davidson Counties who are pursuing breach of fiduciary duty actions. If executors and trustees fail to act honestly and appropriately, legal action may be necessary to replace them with people who can meet the appropriate standards.

Responsibilities of Fiduciaries

Executors of estates, as well as trustees in charge of administering a trust, are legally required to act in good faith and perform their duties with care and due diligence. A fiduciary is someone who serves as a representative or agent for another person, making decisions regarding his or her finances, trusts, or medical decisions. As a result, executors and trustees are fiduciaries required to act in the best interest of the estate and its intended beneficiaries. A breach of fiduciary duty may take the form of a variety of actions, such as:

  • A trustee or executor acting in his or her self-interest while disregarding the beneficiaries’ interests;
  • Fraudulently misappropriating money or assets from the trust or estate;
  • Failing to take action or respond to beneficiaries’ requests;
  • Improper recording of accounting or other financial matters; or
  • Failing to comply with laws and regulations regarding the administration of the trust or estate.

When a breach of duty is suspected, family members, heirs, or beneficiaries of an estate or trust may bring a legal action to remove the executor or trustee. In Tennessee, people seeking the removal of a trustee or executor must file a petition alleging the grounds for removal. Before a trustee or executor is removed from his or her position, a hearing must be held, at which the trustee may also present evidence against removal. If a breach of fiduciary duty has resulted in a financial loss, beneficiaries may seek compensation for that loss, sometimes including punitive damages. Consulting an experienced attorney can help you evaluate your potential causes of action when you have been harmed by the malfeasance of a trustee or executor.

Seek Legal Guidance in Nashville When Pursuing Probate Litigation

If you believe that an executor or trustee in Nashville or the surrounding cities has acted improperly, the probate litigation attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can guide you in pursuing legal action. We also help individuals in Franklin, Belle Meade, East Nashville, and other areas of Tennessee, representing their interests against people whom their loved ones mistakenly expected to act responsibly. Our firm is dedicated to making sure those put in a position of trust act accordingly and follow the best interests of those relying on them. If you need legal guidance with any trust or estate issue, contact us online or call us at 615-800-7096 to set up an appointment.