Addressing financial issues after the death of a loved one inevitably colors grief in ways not desired by anguished family members. The heartbreak of loss is exacerbated when surviving family members must choose to take action against a trustee or other estate interloper involved in estate financial wrongdoing.
It is common to delay a challenge against a wrongdoer trustee. A person in mourning, unless with good reason to be suspicious, won't be inclined to challenge a trustee soon after the death of a loved one. That said, delay has its cost and may have serious financial repercussions. Here are five of them:
- There are statutes of limitation that have short time limits that permit a challenge to a trust. Failure to act during these times may complicate and sometimes prevent a claim against a bad trustee.
- Trust assets may easily be diminished or even evaporate while delaying to move against a bad trustee. Liquid assets may be easily moved and we have often seen bad trustees sell real estate to related parties at substantial discounts to fair market value.
- There is a concept called laches - sometimes said to be sitting on your rights. Delays in enforcing rights promptly may destroy an abused beneficiary's rights and remedies against a wrongdoer.
- Quick action with the appointment of a successor trustee - whether a professional fiduciary or a family member - may prevent further wrongdoing and the evaporation of an estate.
- Quick action allows for formal and informal discovery of known and unknown assets.
If you have an interest as a beneficiary or heir to a California trust and you suspect that the trustee is willfully or negligently mismanaging trust assets, we will be happy to take your call and talk about your rights. Call us at Hackard Law - (916) 313-3030.