Trustees and Executors are held to a high fiduciary standard of conduct. Beneficiaries have a right not only to their inheritance but also to information about the management of the assets. What should you do if you feel your rights as a beneficiary of an estate or trust are not being protected?
Consider this recent case: our client, John, was a beneficiary of his uncle’s trust. While John had always thought his uncle was wealthy, after his uncle passed away, he learned that the trust was empty. Believing something was amiss, John contacted our firm to find out if he had any rights and/or ability to get information about what may have happened to the trust and the assets.
Our firm brought an action against the trustee in Surrogate’s Court, demanding an accounting of the trust’s assets. After deposing the trustee and the financial advisor, and convincing the Court to subpoena reams of documents, it was discovered that the trustee had taken approximately $1 Million for herself, stripping the trust bare.
The Judge ordered the trustee to return $500,000 to the trust plus 9% interest from the day she took the money. In addition, the court ordered her to pay John’s attorney fees. John was made whole – and then some!
Cona Elder Law attorney Marcus O’Toole Gelo, Esq. led this case to victory. This success shows that strong advocacy by skilled attorneys can right a wrong.
If you are a beneficiary of a trust or estate and a fiduciary is not providing information or may have even taken assets for themselves, the experienced litigators at Cona Elder Law are ready to fight for you.