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Business Law: Experience Counts

fiduciaryIn the realm of business law, experience means everything, and the stakes are very high when you are involved in a case that could go to trial. The attorneys here at our firm that handle our business litigation cases have over 75 years of combined experience. As they say, we have seen it all, and we have a track record of success that speaks volumes.

Because of the fact that we have handled such a large volume of cases, we have had the opportunity to dig deeply into many different legal matters that can lead to litigation. Breach of fiduciary duty is one area of great strength for our Orange County business litigation attorneys. If you are not aware of what the term refers to, a fiduciary duty is a financial responsibility to interested parties.

A common fiduciary duty would be the responsibility that the trustee has to the beneficiary when a trust is created as an estate planning device. There are many different types of trusts that can be established, but we will narrow it down to the revocable living trust for the purposes of this explanation.

If you were to create this type of trust, you would be called the grantor or the settlor of the device. The beneficiary would be the person that can receive monetary distributions from the trust. In the trust declaration, you would name a trustee to handle the trust administration chores.

While you are living, you can act as the trustee and the beneficiary, so you would maintain control of assets that you convey into the living trust. The trust would be revocable throughout your life, so if you ever change your mind, you could dissolve the trust entirely and take back direct personal possession of the assets.

The purpose of the trust is to act as an estate planning tool, so you have to account for the events that will take place after your passing. To this end, you name a successor trustee to assume the role after you are gone, and you name your heirs as successor beneficiaries.

You can name someone that you know personally to act as the successor trustee, and in fact, you can make the beneficiary of the trustee if you choose to do so. This being stated, many people use a corporate fiduciary like a trust company or the trust department of a bank. There are advantages to be gained through the utilization of a professional trustee if the trust is holding considerable wealth.

If there are income producing assets in the trust, they would be invested in accordance with industry standards. There could be longevity concerns if you name someone that you know to act as the trustee, but this would not be a factor if you use a professional. In addition to these benefits, there would be no real or perceived conflicts of interest that that can enter the picture, especially if there are multiple beneficiaries.

The trustee has the fiduciary duty to follow instructions that you set forth in the trust declaration, and the trustee must act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. In some cases, a beneficiary, or multiple beneficiaries, may feel as though the trust is not being managed properly. Under these circumstances, you could potentially file a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit.

This is one type of breach of fiduciary case that we have handled successfully for clients, but there are others, like self-dealing within business partnerships. Members of a corporate board have a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders. Real estate brokers have fiduciary relationships with their clients, so you have legal recourse if there is a breach.

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These cases are a small sample of the countless different business law scenarios that we address for our clients. If you would like to discuss any type of business litigation scenario with one of our Orange County attorneys, we be more than glad to accommodate you.

We offer no obligation consultations, and you can rest assured that we make our clients feel totally comfortable from the first point of contact onward. You can send us a message right now to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 714-406-4554.