Fiduciary Litigation & Defense of Wills and Trusts

Defending Trust & Trustees

Defending Wills & Defending Executors & Administrators

Defending Guardians

Fiduciary Lawsuits & Defense of Wills & Trusts

We Hold Fiduciaries Responsible for their Bad-Acts and Mismanagement of Assets Held for Another.

A fiduciary is a person that accepts the role of protecting the assets of another individual and, with that acceptance of the office of being a fiduciary comes fiduciary duties and obligations. Fiduciaries are held to the highest standard of behavior in civil law to act in the best interests of the principal and with utmost honesty and integrity in the exercise of powers and authority and in administering the property.

Trustees, guardians, executors, administrators, and persons acting under a power of attorney hold a formal fiduciary relationship with their principal. This means the fiduciary relationship and its incumbent fiduciary duties and obligations cannot be denied. A person can become a fiduciary just by their relationship with another person; this fiduciary relationship is created informally, i.e., without anyone, necessarily, signing a document creating it. Once a person establishes and operates within a relationship with another of trust and reliance, i.e., through course of dealing with that person, a fiduciary relationship is created. The mere reliance of a weaker or less sophisticated person, mentally or physically, upon another that is stronger and more sophisticated obligates that stronger person to operate within fiduciary obligations.

What Happens When a Fiduciary Abuses Their Position?

Fiduciary abuses of their position of trust should not and cannot be tolerated. A fiduciary is trusted to protect the assets of another and should never treat any of such assets as their own or use them for personal gain. Fiduciaries should be held to account and should be held accountable when they abuse their office and should be ordered to and correct the situation by returning or reimbursing all funds or assets that cannot be accounted for, the should pay actual damages and, even, punitive damages depending on the behavior and circumstances. Our Dallas law firm can help you with lawsuits and proving allegations of:

  • Undue influence
  • Fraud
  • Forgery
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Self-dealings
  • Theft of fiduciary property
  • Removal of powers of attorney

Find Your Fiduciary Litigation Team

Spencer, Johnson, & Harvell, PLLC, helps clients pursue their fiduciaries, who have behaved poorly, taken advantage of their position and treated  their principals intentionally and ruthlessly or manipulatively or carelessly and negligently. Our intense and relentless pursuit and advocacy, our confidence in the courtroom and our results are the hallmark of our team of fiduciary liability attorneys efforts. We will assert your position that the fiduciary has harmed you shift the burden to the fiduciary to explain and prove why any transaction was fair to you. We will get them to return your property to the estate or trust and make them pay in damages.

Breaches of Fiduciary Duties are Unacceptable

Our Fiduciary Litigation Process

When we accept representation of you, we will be honored to be your attorneys, and to help end fiduciary misconduct by filing suit to protect your Estate. Our attorneys will collaborate with you to evaluate the actions of your fiduciary and the extent of any violation in the past or potential for violation in the future. If your fiduciary does not respond to requests for information regarding your assets or their questionable behavior, we will tenaciously work to force them to do so and to answer for their misconduct and malfeasance, to see their removal as a fiduciary and to recover damages.

Aggressively Litigating Over the Actions of Attorneys-in-Fact

A power of attorney is authorization that allows a designated person ("attorney-in-fact"), someone trusted to make important medical and financial decisions on your behalf now (an immediate power) or in the event of your incapacitation (a "springing" power). An attorney-in-fact has the ability to abuse their position because they have the authority to act in the place of the principal and do with their property whatever the principal could do. Sometimes that power is abused by unscrupulous attorney-in-fact that might have obtained the power of attorney through undue influence or getting it signed when the principal lacked the mental capacity to understand the authority being granted. Often, these "bad-actors" can then use to their advantage by self-dealing, conversion, or to transfer real property to themselves or relatives. These abuses can cause undue harm to the principal by a person they might have thought they could trust.

At Spencer, Johnson, & Harvell, PLLC, we will challenge the validity of the powers of attorney, potentially file for guardianship over the principal if needed, to wrest control away from the bad-acting attorney-in-fact and to restore order to the administration of the estate of the reliant principal. 

Our team of estate, trust, guardianship and fiduciary litigation lawyers  recognizes the challenges people face when a person of trust abuses their office and use their power over assets to the detriment of their principal or beneficiaries. While litigation can be draining on an emotional level, it must be pursued because fiduciary misconduct can also cause serious damage to the estate. 

Defending the Fiduciary

Being a fiduciary is thankless job. In a courtroom, it is an extremely onerous position to be in because judges and juries hate violations of fiduciary duties and strenuously apply the highest standard in civil law.

The goal as a fiduciary is to try and resolve issues or errors with principals or beneficiaries because very few fiduciaries actually “win” a lawsuit filed against them. The presumptions are that a breach of fiduciary duty has occurred, and a fiduciary must prove otherwise – meaning, the burden shifts to the fiduciary to explain all actions taken. Any money or property that cannot be accounted for or that is missing is automatically assigned to the fiduciary as damages. When a fiduciary must defend against a lawsuit, hiring strong legal counsel to poke holes in and attacking the allegations. Take the offensive is crucial and is the difference between a reasonable outcome and disaster.

We always intend to take, objectively, apply the standards of fiduciary work in your favor to attempt to achieve the best possible result for you. Our assistance may be needed when a fiduciary has been accused of any of the following:

  • Fails to fully disclose all material facts that affect your interest as a beneficiary.
  • Refuses to provide any, non-privileged, information at your request.
  • Mismanages assets.
  • Misappropriates assets or funds.
  • Embezzles assets or funds.
  • Self-deals – uses property for his or her own benefit
  • Steals money
  • Refuses to distribute money to you.
  • Refuses to distribute money to you in a timely manner
  • Fails to protect assets
  • Fails to file an accounting, or fails to file a timely accounting
  • Refuses to disclose what is happening with administration
  • May be biased against you
  • Shows hostility toward you

Defending You From False Accusations

We are also prepared to advise you, as a fiduciary, to avoid the difficult situation of having to defend your actions. But if legal defense is what is required, we are prepared to defend you, as a fiduciary, in a court of law if you are accused of improper conduct or believe that you acted within your fiduciary duties and obligations. You must hire a attorney experienced in defending such accusations because hiring an inexperienced attorney can be devastating to your defense. Do not allow incorrect, misguided, or false allegations to linger and put you at a disadvantage. Act now! Taking immediate action to respond to and address the complaints of your principal or beneficiary/beneficiaries is critical because delay creates suspicion and gives the appearance of a lack of care or concern over the allegations.

Dallas Probate Attorneys

(214) 965-9999

Spencer, Johnson & Harvell, PLLC, invites you to contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation regarding your estate and trust matters.

We are located in Dallas, but we travel throughout Texas to serve our clients. Ask us about our hourly and contingency fees.

Contact Us

For excellent and caring representation at reasonable rates, contact us today.

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