Many people often turn to professional institutions, such as banks, to handle the fiduciary and trust administrations of their family trusts because they believe they have the professional financial abilities to oversee the trust and all of the assets and investments contained therein. However, just because you have financially savvy institutions handling your family trust affairs, does not mean that you should give up your responsibility as a beneficiary to be informed of all trust activities on a regular basis.
For example, Barbara Burton Morris has sued Wells Fargo Bank in a St. Louis court alleging breach of fiduciary duty by failing to disclose financial transactions in two trusts. One of these trusts, the Burton Trust held $14 million in assets and the other, Morris Trust, held about $32 million. At the time of the filing, it is alleged that both trusts have completely lost their value due to being wrongfully pledged as collateral for risky business loans. The lawyer for Barbara Burton Morris claims that she was not aware that any of this activity was taking place.
As a beneficiary and a co-trustee, ignorance is simply not acceptable. Especially with two trusts that are holding very large values like hers. You must review the trust accounts on an annual basis no matter how prestigious and trustworthy you think your professional trust administration institution is.
Please consult with a qualified Trust Administration Attorney if you have not received a trust accounting or believe there is any wrongdoing associated with any of your trusts that are being administered by any institution.
*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.