Litigation Over Estate Administration
The law firm of Aitkens & Aitkens, P.C. represents either side in lawsuits alleging breach of fiduciary duty. We have brought actions on behalf of the estate or specific beneficiaries, and we have defended the executor, administrator or trustee accused of fraud or incompetence. Our knowledgeable probate litigation attorneys practice in Metro Atlanta, northern Georgia and in probate courts statewide. We commonly represent out-of-state clients, whether fiduciaries, beneficiaries, or heirs with a stake in the outcome.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
A fiduciary is the person named in the will to administer the estate (executor), a person appointed by a probate court in the absence of a will (administrator), or the person charged with managing or administering a trust (trustee or trust administrator). There are specific duties defined by Georgia statute, and because the person has discretion over large sums of money, he or she is held to a high standard of honesty and accountability.
Breach of fiduciary duty can include:
- Theft — Misappropriating property from the estate
- Conversion — theft by indirect means, such as undervaluing liquidated assets and pocketing the difference
- Fraud — subverting the will through deception, misrepresentation or accepting bribes
- Incompetence or Dereliction — failure to distribute the estate and trust assets within a reasonable time, through neglect or errors
- Conflict of Interest — failure to disclose a personal interest in the estate or relationship with an heir
- Excessive Fees — the executor/trustee is entitled to take reasonable compensation for his or her time and efforts
The experienced lawyers of Aitkens & Aitkens commonly represent heirs or other beneficiaries including charities who do not receive all or some of their bequest, or suspect trustee theft or foul play in estate distribution. In addition to the bequests intended by the will, compensatory damages may apply.
We have also provided a vigorous defense for wrongly accused fiduciaries, showing that they made a good-faith effort at timely settlement, did not personally benefit or intentionally deprive heirs of property, or could not fulfill their duties because of personal hardship or unavoidable probate delays.
To discuss breach of fiduciary duty in depth with a qualified estate and trust litigation attorney, call Aitkens & Aitkens at 877-595-1393 or contact us online.
We also provide complete estate planning services to avoid will contests over disposition of assets and estate and trust administration counsel to avoid any appearance of impropriety.