Suing a Trustee for Theft of Trust Assets

Suing a Trustee for Theft of Trust Assets

Losing a loved one can be a challenging and emotional time, and the last thing you want to worry about is someone taking advantage of the situation. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a trustee to steal money from an estate, leaving beneficiaries with less than they’re entitled to. If you’re in Virginia and find yourself in this situation, you may be wondering what you can do to fight back. One option is to sue the trustee, and here’s what you need to know.

What is a Trustee?

A trustee is a person or institution who is appointed to manage a trust on behalf of the beneficiaries. A trust is a legal arrangement where a person, the grantor, transfers assets to a trustee to hold and manage on behalf of the beneficiaries. The trustee is responsible for managing the assets according to the terms of the trust and distributing them to the beneficiaries as directed.

What is Estate Theft?

Estate theft occurs when a trustee steals assets or money from an estate, depriving the beneficiaries of their rightful inheritance. Estate theft can take many forms, such as forging documents, embezzlement, or failing to distribute assets as directed in the trust.

What Can You Do About Estate Theft?

If you suspect that a trustee has stolen money from an estate, you have the right to take legal action. The first step is to contact an experienced attorney who specializes in estate litigation. They can help you navigate the legal process and determine the best course of action.

Suing the Trustee

If your attorney determines that suing the trustee is the best course of action, they will help you file a lawsuit. In Virginia, the lawsuit will likely be filed in the circuit court of the county where the trustee lives or where the trust was administered. The lawsuit will seek to recover the stolen assets and any damages caused by the theft.

Recovering Stolen Assets

If the court finds that the trustee has stolen assets from the estate, it will order the trustee to return the assets to the estate. In some cases, the court may also award damages to the beneficiaries for any losses they suffered as a result of the theft.

Protecting Yourself from Estate Theft

To protect yourself from estate theft, it’s essential to choose a trustee carefully. Look for someone who has experience managing trusts and a reputation for honesty and integrity. You can also include provisions in the trust document that require the trustee to provide regular accountings and be subject to oversight by a third party.

In conclusion, estate theft can be a devastating experience for beneficiaries who have lost out on their rightful inheritance. If you’re in Virginia and find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney who can help you sue the trustee and recover what’s rightfully yours. Remember to take steps to protect yourself from estate theft in the future by choosing a trustworthy trustee and including oversight provisions in the trust document.

leave a comment