Trust Litigation in Florida
Trust litigation is, like guardianship disputes, a growing field in Florida. This is most probably explained by the use of revocable trusts to hold family wealth and dispose of it, much like under a will, when one has passed away. But trusts can last for decades or even generations and many times beneficiaries don’t get along with trustees or co-beneficiaries. More so, Florida revocable or living trusts often operate during the trust creator’s lifetime, as when the trust creator becomes incapacitated from Dementia or Alzheimers, or when a guardianship is filed and needed.
Trusts are specifically set up to protect the rights of their beneficiaries. Despite this, situations occur where these rights are violated by those who are entrusted with their protection – the trustees. Proving that your rights were violated requires extensive documentation and a nuanced understanding of estate and trust law. Accordingly, your choice of lawyer is of paramount importance to the outcome of your case.
Every lawyer at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus PLLC has the experience of dealing with contested, even antagonistic, trust lawsuits. We are serious litigators – we do not prepare trusts, wills or other planning tools, and we focus only on probate, business, and estate litigation and appeals. By regularly representing clients in court, we have gained the skills necessary to ensure your rights as a beneficiary are fought for. We can explain your rights as a Florida trustee beneficiary to you.
What Rights Do Trust Beneficiaries Have?
Beneficiaries of trusts have rights, some general and some specific to the terms of the trust. Typically, this includes the right to receive:
- Financial distributions
- All relevant information about the trust
- Trust valuations
The trustee has an obligation, known as fiduciary duty, to protect the beneficiaries’ rights. A trustee must place the beneficiaries’ interests above the interests of everyone else, even his or her own. When a trustee fails to do this, a beneficiary can file a claim for breach of fiduciary duty. These claims can linger for many years, but our firm has developed strategies to keep even the most complex cases moving forward.
Florida Trust Administration Dispute Attorneys
As a fiduciary, trustees owe beneficiaries one of the highest duties under the law. This fiduciary duty can be breached in any number of ways, including:
- Failure to make distributions
- Conflict of interests
- Taking money from the trust
- Failure to administer the trust in accordance with the terms of the trust
- Acting in self-interest
- Abuse of discretion regarding discretionary distributions
Our deep understanding of breach of fiduciary duty and other trust-related topics has made us an industry leader and trusted referral destination throughout Florida. Other lawyers know that we are fierce litigators who get results, and they send us cases that are too difficult or complex for them to handle.
Although the exact remedy for a breach of fiduciary duty varies from trust to trust, common remedies include reformation of the trust, modification of the trust and conversion of income interests. Regardless of whether a court intervenes or you bring a claim on your own behalf, the most important thing to know about trust disputes is that you have rights and many ways to protect those rights.
Protect Your Rights | Contact Pankauski Hauser Lazarus PLLC
We can assist you with trust administration issues involving litigation and probate. To schedule an initial consultation with a West Palm Beach trust litigation lawyer, call Amanda Phillips at 561-514-0900 Ext. 101 or fill out our online form.