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Trustees Have Great Power but Can Be Held Accountable

Trustees can be held liable for their actions but it can be a tough case to prove.

Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog recently published the article "The Many Ways Trustees Escape Liability" explaining it can often be difficult to actually hold trustees to account.

Depending on the specific language of the trust documents, trustees can have wide latitude in deciding how trust assets will be invested and distributed. Giving trustees this power is important to make sure that the trust is operated in such a way as to maximize their value for beneficiaries.

Many people often waive their rights to hold a trustee liable either by consenting to a transaction before it is made or by signing a release from liability form. In both cases beneficiaries are supposed to be given full disclosure before waiving any rights. However, opinions about what constitutes full disclosure can vary.

Some trust documents themselves also limit the ability to hold trustees liable and courts always have the right to excuse a breach of duty by a trustee if the court finds it equitable to do so.

Expert legal advice may be necessary if you have a serious conflict with a trustee.

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