TRUST & ESTATE LITIGATION
Our attorneys have represented trustees and beneficiaries in disputes involving trusts, including claims regarding breach of fiduciary duty, failure to inform and report to beneficiaries, and trustee removal actions. These cases often involve allegations of using trust assets for the trustee’s own benefit, failing to properly invest the trust assets, failing to provide an accurate accounting of trust assets, and making improper distributions of trust assets, among other claims. Briol & Benson’s expertise in representing clients with regard to allegations of financial fraud and other malfeasance is extremely helpful in representing clients in such disputes.
ENFORCEMENT OF RIGHTS UNDER TRUST AGREEMENT
Beneficiaries of a trust have rights to information about the trust and to ensure the trustee is acting properly. While state laws and the terms of the trust determine exactly what rights a beneficiary has, common rights given to beneficiaries of a trust include: a right to distributions from the trust, a right to information about the trust and its administration, a right to an accounting detailing all income, distributions and expenses of the trust, a right to remove the trustee upon agreement by all trust beneficiaries, and the possibility of ending the trust if the purpose of the trust has been fulfilled. Briol & Benson will work with you to make sure your rights are being respected.
BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY BY TRUSTEE OR STATE ADMINISTRATOR
Often, disputes arise between beneficiaries as to the proper distribution of trust assets or the interpretation of a will. These issues may be sensitive, involving disagreement among family members. Attorneys at Briol & Benson represent family members and often work to resolve differences before going to court. If it is necessary to go to court to protect our client’s interests, the trial attorneys at Briol & Benson will be there with you every step of the way.
DISPUTES AMONG MULTIPLE BENEFICIARIES
The breach of fiduciary duties by a trustee can have devastating results, depriving you or your children of assets you thought were preserved. The trustee, however, is legally bound as a fiduciary to look out for the best interests of the beneficiaries and oversee the assets of the trust in a prudent matter. If the trustee doesn’t perform his or her fiduciary obligations and acts carelessly or disloyally, that is a breach of fiduciary duty for which the beneficiaries can hold the trustee accountable. At Briol & Benson, our attorneys have experience suing trustees or defending trustees with regard to allegations that the trustee mismanaged trust assets or failed to properly invest trust assets, acted with a conflict of interest, misappropriated trust assets, or failed to carry out the terms of the trust instrument.
Briol & Benson attorneys have extensive experience in representing clients in challenges to wills – and in defending executors against challenges to wills – on the grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, fraud, and failure to comply with proper will formalities. We also represent clients in will interpretation disputes and motions seeking the court’s direction.
BUSINESS VALUATION & SUCCESSION
While plans for the succession of a business are often carefully laid, those plans may be undone by a court challenge. The attorneys at Briol & Benson have decades of experience in litigating challenges to business succession plans and business valuations. There are several different methods for determining the value of a business. In all of them, however, the bottom line is determining a value that is fair to the investors. Briol & Benson works with valuation experts to determine how much the business is worth and how beneficiaries should be compensated for the transfer of their business interests.