How do I know if trustee malfeasance occurred?

If you suspect trustee misconduct, you might want to consider probate litigation. Trustee misconduct is when the person responsible for administering an estate acts in a negligent or self-serving manner.

According to O.R.C. § 2109.50, if an estate beneficiary believes malfeasance occurs, they can make a complaint to the court. The trustee must then appear before the court to testify.

Conflicts of interest

Trustees must always put the best interest of the beneficiaries above their own. This is because they agree to fiduciary responsibilities when the owner of an estate names them the trustee. Administrators of the estate must disclose conflicts of interest. For instance, they must be clear if they benefit from a transaction while overseeing the estate’s assets. Gaining from the probate process does not necessarily mean malfeasance occurred. However, it is suspect.

Lack of transparency

As a beneficiary, you should know every transaction the trustee makes. If they do not provide you with an up-to-date report on their activities, you should request a notification immediately. Not everyone has the financial knowledge to notice discrepancies in an estate’s ledger, but if you suspect foul play, reach out to a professional. Trustees legally must make every interested party reasonably aware of the trust’s transactions. A lack of formal notifications is misconduct on the part of the trustee.

Acting as a trustee is a serious responsibility. They must be completely transparent with the trust beneficiaries and remove all biases from their decisions. Be aware of any suspicious activity and ensure the trustee discloses if they benefit at all from the trust.