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Dispute Resolution & Fiduciary Litigation

Protecting Individuals from Abuse by their Fiduciaries

Certain people (or entities) occupy a special place in our lives because they are vested with the responsibility for making critical decisions on our behalf. Often, we trust these people to manage or invest our money with our best interests in mind. We also may entrust them with making medical or housing decisions on our behalf in ways that will help improve the quality of our life.
For centuries, the law has recognized individuals occupying this position of trust as “fiduciaries.” Fiduciaries include agents under powers of attorney, trustees, guardians, and conservators, and executors and administrators of estates. Fiduciaries owe the highest standard of duty and loyalty to the individuals or entities they protect, and they can suffer significant liability when they fail to do so. Most fiduciaries do their best to perform their assigned duties. Unfortunately, fiduciaries sometimes fall short because they do not fully understand what is expected of them. For example, they may forget to send the required reports to beneficiaries or fail to properly track expenditures.
Sometimes fiduciaries abuse their position:
  • They may withhold funds from a trust unless the beneficiary takes a certain action.
  • They may withhold funds because they become angry with the beneficiaries.
  • They may steal from the people they are supposed to protect.
Weinberg Elder Law, LLC can help distinguish between overwhelmed fiduciaries from those who are abusing their powers, and WEL can advise the parties as to the appropriate course of action.
Dispute Resolution & Fiduciary Litigation Services Provided by Weinberg Elder Law Include:
  • Conducting formal or informal mediations between the fiduciary and those to whom the fiduciary owes a dutyMediation can be especially effective when resolving disputes between well-meaning but estranged family members. Through mediation, families can develop a plan of care for their family members without having to resort to litigation.
  • Demanding accountings or filing petitions with a court for accountings requesting that a fiduciary demonstrate how the fiduciary has managed and spent the assets in the fiduciary’s care. WEL also can assist in responding to these demands and petitions.
  • Preparing non-judicial settlements for wills and trusts when the parties need clarity to one or more provisions in these documents or when the parties agree to an outcome different than what is provided for by these documents.
  • Petitioning to remove fiduciaries and to seek other appropriate relief from fiduciaries who have breached their duties owed to the person with whom they have this special relationship of trust.