By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a New Jersey Probate Dispute Attorney
The law requires that a fiduciary render an accounting of the funds that have come into his control as well as the funds that he paid out. The timing of this accounting varies but generally, he must account at least once a year. The fiduciary also must make an accounting when an accounting is demanded by a beneficiary. A fiduciary has an affirmative duty to make a full and accurate confession of all his fiduciary activities, transactions, profits, and mistakes even when – and especially when – it hurts. The breach of the duty of full disclosure by a fiduciary is tantamount to fraudulent concealment.
If a fiduciary fails to live up to the high duty imposed on him by law, he may be removed, made to pay any damages caused by his breach of duty, forced to return any property that he may have taken from the trust, denied compensation as well as forced to return any compensation that he has received, pay exemplary (punitive) damages and attorney’s fees. The remedies available to the beneficiaries are:1. Removal.
2. Actual damages.
3. Disgorgement of fees.
4. Denial of compensation.
5. Punitive or exemplary damages.
6. Attorney’s fees.
Of course every case is different. There is never an excuse for a fiduciary violating his duty but the remedies juries impose will vary from case to case depending on the intent of the fiduciary. They will treat harshly the fiduciary who is milking the beneficiary’s funds but will treat lightly the elderly aunt who hasn’t stolen any money but who has not made regular accountings or disbursements. However, no matter their intent, if a fiduciary breaches their high duty imposed by law, the court will probably remove them.
Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey probate dispute matter. I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns. You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org