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What you need to know about breach of fiduciary duty

| Nov 2, 2021 | Estate Planning |

A fiduciary duty is a legal responsibility assigned to a person in a position of trust, like the executor of an estate or a trustee, to act in another’s best interests. If they fail to do so, they have breached their fiduciary duty, and in that case, you may seek legal recourse. Fiduciary duty violations arise when the fiduciary fails to fulfill their legal obligations under the law or as defined by the contract.

The legal consequences may range from reimbursing the victim for the financial losses caused by the breach to removal or suspension from their position. In some cases, criminal charges may be leveled against the violator.

You must be owed a fiduciary duty to sue for a breach

You can only sue for breach of fiduciary duty if someone has such a responsibility to you. The elements of a fiduciary duty claim are:

  • The existence of a fiduciary duty
  • The breach of such duty
  • A party suffered damages or losses as a result of the breach
  • There’s a clear link between your losses or damages and the breach of fiduciary duty

Provided you meet the requirements above, you can file a breach lawsuit. You still need to take additional steps to prove your case, though.

Proving your case

Depending on the type of breach that took place, all you have to do is show that the person entrusted with acting in your best interests failed to do so or abused their position. For instance, you may support your claim by having proof, such as bank statements showing a misappropriation of funds. There is no need to prove fraudulent or criminal intent in your breach of fiduciary duty case.

If you think you are a victim of a breach of fiduciary duty owed to you, it is necessary to protect your legal rights by making informed decisions on the way forward. With the proper steps of action, you may even recover what you lost due to the breach.