Executors, administrators and trustees in Montgomery County, PA and throughout Pennsylvania are considered fiduciaries under Pennsylvania estates and probate law. Pennsylvania estate and trust litigation is often limited to traditional Will contests in which the validity of a Will or trust is questioned. Recently, however, a large number of lawsuits have been filed against executors, administrators and trustees for breach of fiduciary duty.
Fiduciary Duty in PA – Standard of Care
The standard of care to which a fiduciary is held in Pennsylvania is such common skill, judgment and caution as persons of ordinary prudence, discretion and intelligence under similar circumstances, would exercise in the management of their own estate. Breach of fiduciary duty claims in PA usually involve allegations that a person made poor investments, mismanaged trust or estate assets, engaged in self-dealing, favored certain beneficiaries, or other questionable decisions. These claims, if proven, can subject the fiduciary to a surcharge, damages for lost profits, damages for lost principal and interest, and termination/replacement.
A typical defense for any action for breach of fiduciary duty is to show that the actions of the executor, administrator or trustee are compliant with Pennsylvania law and within the bounds of the relevant estate document, e.g., Will or trust. For example, a dispute involving a trustee’s financial investments would hinge upon whether a judge may understand those investments to be prudent investments considering all of the circumstances.
For any Pennsylvania estate and probate litigation involving breach of fiduciary duty, an experienced PA estate lawyer should be utilized. Your PA estate lawyer should be experienced with drafting and understanding the estate document at issue since the document establishes the testator or settlor’s intentions.
Estate Lawyers in Montgomery County, PA
The Martin Law Firm, located in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, provides estate planning, estate administration, and probate services to residents of Montgomery County, PA, and other surrounding counties. To speak with one of our experienced PA estate lawyers about an estate litigation matter including breach of fiduciary duty, contact The Martin Law Firm today at 215-646-3980.