A trustee is responsible for managing trust assets on behalf of the beneficiaries. It is their responsibility to ensure the trust serves the purpose it was created for and that the trust assets are well managed.
When a trustee fails to perform their legal duties under the law or according to the trust agreement, it could be a violation of the fiduciary duty they owe you. As a beneficiary, you should take action and safeguard your rights and financial interests.
When can this happen?
The trustee owes you a duty of care as a trust beneficiary. As such, they must always act in your best interests when handling the trust assets. A trustee also owes beneficiaries a duty of impartiality and loyalty.
A breach of fiduciary duty may occur when a trustee steals or wastes money from the trust, fails to pay taxes as required by law, or manages trust assets to enrich themselves. Failure to keep complete records detailing transactions with the trust assets could also be in breach of their fiduciary duty.
These are just some of the common ways a trustee may violate their fiduciary duty. As a beneficiary, you ought to be on the lookout for less subtle ways this may happen, which may not be too apparent.
What should you do about it?
If you think your trustee is abusing their position of trust or mismanaging the trust assets, you need to take swift action before it is too late and the assets are dissipated.
Understanding your legal options in dealing with such a situation is crucial. It could help recover lost assets or in some cases, replace the trustee with another responsible party that will act with your best interests in mind.