Palo Alto Attorneys Handle Breach of Fiduciary Duty Matters

What is a fiduciary duty?

At Chiles and Prochnow, we are often asked to what standard an estate trustee, executor or administrator must adhere when handling a trust or an estate. The manager of a trust is called a “trustee”; an “executor” is named in a will to administer the probate of the will.  When there is no will or if the will doesn’t name an executor, the probate estate is managed by an administrator. All of these functionaries are “fiduciaries” and owe a fiduciary duty to the estate or trust they administer. A fiduciary is required to act with the utmost honesty and loyalty in pursuing the best interests of the estate or trust for which he is responsible.  This can include identifying, collecting, separating, securing and accounting for the estate or trust property and distributing the property in accordance with the terms of the controlling instrument.

Removal of executors or trustees for breach of fiduciary duty

A trustee, executor or administrator can be removed by the probate court for breach of fiduciary duty or other actions not in the best interest of the estate or its beneficiaries, as provided for under the California Probate Code.

Protecting honest trustees and executors from disgruntled beneficiaries

A trustee or executor of an estate, often must make difficult decisions while considering all of the beneficiaries’ interests. On the other hand, an individual beneficiary is typically only concerned with his or her own interests. Therefore, the difference in perspective and the differing considerations can sometimes make a beneficiary incorrectly think that a trustee is misbehaving or violating his or her fiduciary duty. Our firm can defend the actions of trustworthy and diligent executors and trustees.

We can advise you on issues of fiduciary duty

With 70 plus years of experience, the lawyers at Chiles and Prochnow can advise you on fiduciary duty matters. To see if our firm is a good fit for your case, please schedule a free consultation by calling us at 650-812-0400 or contacting us online. Our Palo Alto office is conveniently located near all major routes on the San Francisco Peninsula.