Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Breach of Fiduciary Duty? We Can Help
A breach of fiduciary duty could have very serious consequences for those affected by it. The business venture or beneficiaries affected by the breach may lose a significant amount of money or otherwise suffer harm. Fiduciaries who do not uphold their important legal responsibilities can be sued in court and even removed from their positions. Take your potential breach of fiduciary duty claim to lawyers who will handle your case with the seriousness and attention to detail that it deserves.
At Henke & Williams, our Houston litigation attorneys help clients identify and resolve breach of fiduciary duty claims. We are familiar with the duties that fiduciaries owe to their principals, clients, or beneficiaries. When you come to us, you may have questions about your rights concerning the fiduciary relationship. Our legal team will take the time to explain your rights and your possible paths forward with the breach of fiduciary duty.
What Is a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?
One of the steps our lawyers will take in evaluating your case is determining whether there has been a breach of fiduciary duty. A breach occurs when a fiduciary (described below) violates a specific duty assigned to him or her by law. Examples of these duties include the duty of care and the duty of loyalty. Fiduciaries owe these duties to beneficiaries, principals, or clients – people on whose behalf the fiduciaries are acting. A breach may occur when a fiduciary acts irresponsibly or fails to act in a principal’s best interests.
Here are some examples of possible breaches of fiduciary duty:
- A trustee of a trust uses trust assets to make a profit for himself personally, harming the trust beneficiaries
- A corporate director urges the other directors to rent office space from his son-in-law rather than evaluating several possible office spaces
- An accountant hastily fills out tax returns for a client, leading to expensive penalties for the client
- A trustee of a trust refuses to provide information about the trust to beneficiaries when they ask about distributions
- A lawyer reveals confidential client information without permission, hurting the client’s case
- A trustee of a trust fails to prudently invest trust funds, choosing risky investment vehicles without thoroughly researching them
As you can see, a breach of fiduciary duty generally involves someone in a position of trust violating that trust for personal gain or due to irresponsibility. Fiduciaries come in many different forms, and the duties that they owe to their principals may vary. We suggest that you consult attorneys who are experienced with breach of fiduciary duty claims to learn more about your specific situation.
What Is a Fiduciary? Learn More from Henke & Williams
You may wonder who exactly counts as a fiduciary. Fiduciaries are people in positions of trust acting on behalf of other individuals (the principals, clients, or beneficiaries). A principal entrusts sensitive matters, such as financial, legal, or business affairs, to a fiduciary. Someone serving in a fiduciary capacity is expected to act in the principal’s best interests at all times. Examples of people who often owe fiduciary duties include:
- Trustees of trusts
- Executors of estates
- Directors of corporations
- Financial brokers and some other financial professionals
- Guardians and conservators
Fiduciaries are often professionals with extensive education. A fiduciary can be an individual or a group of people. For example, a trustee could be accountant, a lawyer who administers trusts, a family relative, or a bank that acts as a professional trustee. In the case of a trust, the person who places their assets in trust chooses who will be the trustee. In other situations, a person or group is selected as a fiduciary by a client, shareholders, or a court.
It’s a good idea for trustees who manage significant or valuable assets to have background knowledge about the assets. For example, the trustee of a real estate trust might have real estate management and valuation experience. If a trustee does not have experience in a specific area, the law requires the trustee to select appropriate professionals to advise the trustee on the best course of action.
Despite professional requirements of integrity, sometimes fiduciaries fail, intentionally or through negligence. Breaches of fiduciary duty, even something that appears to be a simple mistake or small issue, could cause serious financial damage.
We Understand the Damage a Breach of Fiduciary Duty Causes
Our litigation attorneys meet with clients who have been harmed by breaches of fiduciary duty. We assess the unique circumstances surrounding a client’s claims, and then we provide practical solutions. In a breach of fiduciary duty case, you may need help handling litigation against the fiduciary. Or you may have other options for moving forward. Our attorneys have experience handling breach of fiduciary duty litigation claims. We can advise you on how to proceed.
As you move forward with a breach of fiduciary duty case, you may have several options for remedies to seek. These remedies could include:
- Repayment of lost profits or lost funds from the breach
- Forfeiture of the fiduciary’s fee (such as the fee paid by a trust to a trustee for managing it)
- An accounting of the trust, estate, or money at issue
- An injunction forbidding the fiduciary from engaging in certain conduct
- Rescission of a contract between you and the fiduciary
- Removal of the fiduciary from his or her position
Our lawyers can advise you on the possible remedies available in your case. We also discuss alternative dispute resolution options with our clients. ADR often allows potential litigants to resolve their disputes more quickly and easily, without going to court. If you believe that you have a breach of fiduciary duty claim, be sure to reach out to Henke & Williams for advice.
Contact Henke & Williams for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims
As experienced Houston business lawyers, we help our clients find the best solutions possible to their conflicts. Our lawyers can tailor a plan of action to your unique situation using our knowledge of breach of fiduciary duty claims and business litigation. Call (713) 936-5521 or use our convenient Contact Form to set up a consultation with Henke & Williams.