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Alexandria, VA Estate Planning Blog

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Trustee Duties: Remedies for Trustee Breach of Trust

Trustees have duties they owe to a beneficiary. If the Trustee violates those duties, then a breach of Trust may have occurred. 

When a breach of Trust has occurred, the court may compel the Trustee to perform certain duties, enjoin the Trustee from committing a breach of Trust, or compel the Trustee to pay money, restore property, or take other actions intended to redress the breach.

In addition, when the Trustee has failed to provide adequate financial information, or has taken (or not taken) action that brings the trust property into question, the court may order the Trustee to provide an accounting.

If the breach is significant enough, or circumstances otherwise dictate, the court may remove the Trustee and appoint another Trustee to administer the Trust. The appointed or removed trustee may or may not be a successor Trustee under the Trust instrument.

All Trustees should obtain legal counsel to help reduce their otherwise significant exposure to liability. Generally, Trustees may retain an attorney as an expense of Trust Administration. However, exceptions due apply.

Note: A Trustee who acts in reasonable reliance on the terms of the Trust as expressed in the trust instrument is not liable to a beneficiary for a breach of Trust to the extent the breach resulted from the reliance.

If you are a Trustee who would like a consultation, or are a beneficiary who believes a Trustee is acting improperly, please contact us.

Virginia Code Section 64.2-792 Remedies for breach of Trust
A. A violation by a trustee of a duty the trustee owes to a beneficiary is a breach of trust.

B. To remedy a breach of trust that has occurred or may occur, the court may:

1. Compel the trustee to perform the trustee's duties;

2. Enjoin the trustee from committing a breach of trust;

3. Compel the trustee to redress a breach of trust by paying money, restoring property, or other means;

4. Order a trustee to account;

5. Appoint a special fiduciary to take possession of the trust property and administer the trust;

6. Suspend the trustee;

7. Remove the trustee as provided in § 64.2-759;

8. Reduce or deny compensation to the trustee;

9. Subject to § 64.2-803, void an act of the trustee, impose a lien or a constructive trust on trust property, or trace trust property wrongfully disposed of and recover the property or its proceeds; or

10. Order any other appropriate relief.



The Lenzi Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. including Fort Washington, Falls Church, Ft. Myer, Vienna, Rosslyn, Springfield, Mount Vernon, Annandale, Fort Belvoir, Fairfax, Dunn Loring, Merrifield, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Burke, Great Falls, Fredericksburg, Stafford and Herndon in Arlington County, Alexandria County, & Fairfax County.



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