How Can You Protect Yourself As A Trustee From Trust Litigation?
As a trustee of a trust, you have certain legal responsibilities. Fulfilling these responsibilities can be complicated and involve many different parties. You may find yourself facing litigation due to potential breaches of trust.
The Pompano Beach estate and trust litigation lawyer at Mark R. Manceri, P.A., can help you take the necessary steps to protect you – as a trustee – from legal action. We can help you understand where you stand and how to move forward to protect yourself.
Steps to Take to Protect Yourself from Trust Litigation
Under Florida law, a trustee can be removed on the court’s own initiative or at the request of the settlor or a beneficiary (Florida Statutes § 736.0706). Along with the removal, a trustee can also be sued if they commit a breach of trust. Let’s discuss four steps trustees can take to protect themselves from trust litigation.
1. Be Clear About Your Role and Responsibilities
The first step in protecting yourself as a trustee is to be clear about your role and the duties associated with it. If you are uncertain about any aspect of your position, seek legal counsel so that you understand all aspects of the trust agreement and how they apply to you as the trustee. Understanding your role and responsibilities will help you avoid any potential missteps or misunderstandings that could lead to litigation down the line.
2. Keep Good Records
Good record-keeping practices are essential for trustees. Keeping detailed records will help ensure that all actions taken by the trustee are transparent and can be easily accessed if necessary. This includes keeping accurate financial records on behalf of the trust, as well as making sure all paperwork associated with the trust is properly filed and stored away securely.
3. Keep Open Communication
Trustees should always make an effort to keep open communication with all parties involved in the trust agreement. This includes beneficiaries, co-trustees, attorneys, etc., who may have an interest in ensuring that the terms of the agreement are being followed correctly. Keeping open communication ensures that everyone is informed about changes or amendments made to the original agreement—which helps prevent disputes or misunderstanding down the line.
4. Seek Legal Counsel
Finally, it is crucial to seek legal counsel if you – as a trustee – ever find yourself in a situation where litigation could arise due to a breach of trust agreement terms or other issues related to your role as a trustee. An experienced attorney can provide insight into potential pitfalls or areas in which trustees may be exposed legally—and advise them on how best to proceed going forward. Legal counsel can also help trustees understand their rights under state law and make sure they are not exposed financially if litigation does arise due to their involvement with a particular trust agreement.
Protect Yourself as a Trustee with Mark R. Manceri, P.A.
As a trustee, it is essential for you to take steps to protect yourself against possible litigation related to your duties as part of a trust agreement. Taking the above-mentioned proactive steps will help ensure that your involvement with trusts remains free from disputes or other complications. Contact our knowledgeable and results-driven lawyer at Mark R. Manceri, P.A., to discuss your particular situation and learn about your best course of action. Call 954-491-7099.