Under the State of Georgia’s probate laws, a personal representative of an estate, a guardian, a conservator and a trustee is a fiduciary and should, therefore, perform within the highest legal, financial, and ethical standards. On the contrary, a breach in fiduciary duty can lead to personal financial liability. If you or a family member is in need of a fiduciary lawyer in Atlanta, contact the Atlanta Estate Attorneys online, or at (404) 584-5555 today to schedule a consultation.
According to Georgia Law, a fiduciary duty exists whenever a person places confidence or trust in another person regarding a particular transaction or in financial affairs. This duty establishes a relationship where one party is able to exercise a controlling influence over the will, conduct, and interest of another. The law requires the utmost good faith. We are experienced in serving as fiduciaries for our clients; whether we serve as the Conservator, Trustee, Administrator/Executor of an Estate, or Agent on the Power of Attorney. Many times, an experienced attorney who specializes in fiduciary matters is required to assist the client with the bonding company. A breach of duty will arise if all three of these elements are met:
Based on state law a breach of fiduciary duty can proceed in a state court when the plaintiff can demonstrate that one party accepted the duty to perform the tasks for the weaker party. Therefore, we like to assist our clients in properly serving as Fiduciaries in accordance with Georgia Law.
A fiduciary is legally bound to act with the highest legal, financial, and ethical standards. When entering into a fiduciary relationship, it is important to trust that the other party will uphold to these standards. When a breach of duty occurs and the trust is betrayed, the responsible party should be held accountable.
If you believe that you have sustained financial harms as a result of a breach of fiduciary duty, consider contacting the legal support of an experienced counsel for fiduciary disputes. The fiduciary lawyers at Atlanta Estate Attorneys can assist you as you fight for the monetary compensation you rightfully deserve.
A breach in fiduciary duty can arise when the fiduciary has acted in a manner that is in the best interest of his or herself or another party other than the intended Principal or Beneficiary. A fiduciary should not use trust assets or the estate for their own personal gain. The following are common forms of breach in duty by the following fiduciaries:
Agents of Attorneys-in-Fact
The Principal Power of Attorney will grant authority to a person, also known as attorney-in-fact or an agent. This individual owes a fiduciary duty to the individual who signed the power of attorney. Under this document, the fiduciary responsibilities will be outlined and any actions that exceed what is outlined will be the agent’s responsibility.
Typical breaches of fiduciary duty include the following:
When a breach has been identified by the court, the hearing judge will surcharge the agent, and force him or her to repay the plaintiff. Additionally, the judge will remove the agent from his or her duties and move to appoint a another fiduciary.
Personal Representative/Executor or Administrator
Personal representatives, also known as executors, or administrators (without a will) have an obligation to efficiently bring the estate to a final conclusion in order to maximize the beneficiary’s inheritance. An executor will need to gather and make inventory of all of the estate assets and properties, settle any outstanding taxes and debts, and finally distribute the remaining assets in accordance with the deceased’s last will or rules of intestacy.
When there is reason to believe that the personal representative committed a breach of fiduciary duty, the plaintiff has a legal right to retain an attorney who can petition for a court order that will force the fiduciary to provide the court with a full account of the assets. In this report, every expense must be justified. In the event the overseeing judge has found the fiduciary to have caused financial damage, the judge will order the fiduciary to refund the estate with his or her own personal funds. It is likely that the judge will remove the personal representative from his or her duty as fiduciary.
A breach of executor fiduciary duty can include the following:
A probate court judge can appoint a guardian (conservator) for incapacitated minors or adults in the State of Georgia. This individual will have a duty to collect the decedent’s property and assets and preserve them for the incapacitated person or minor. When there is a breach in duty, the fiduciary can be held accountable for the damages.
When there is a reason to believe that there is a breach in fiduciary duty, it is important to speak to an attorney who is experienced in probate disputes. If you and your family are experiencing fiduciary issues, consider speaking to a fiduciary attorney who understands the complexities surrounding these disputes.
The Atlanta Estate Attorneys have many years of dedicated experience handling trust, estate & fiduciary matters in the State of Georgia. Contact us online, or at (404) 584-5555 today to schedule a consultation.