Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd. is a Denver-based law firm providing fiduciary litigation services for individuals and families on either side of a fiduciary litigation case throughout Colorado.
Whether you need to hold a fiduciary accountable or you’ve been accused of breaching your fiduciary duties, our experienced estate attorney and his team are committed to providing you with sound advice and representation throughout the process of resolving your fiduciary litigation dispute.
Fiduciary duty exists in estate matters to ensure trust and faith for those managing the financial affairs of another. Fiduciary litigation occurs when a person or entity—like an executor of someone’s will or a trustee of a trust—has failed to act in accordance with the duties assigned to them.
For example, a fiduciary may have neglected their duty to provide accurate information about the estate or acted dishonestly when distributing assets.
The aim of a fiduciary litigation case is to seek accountability and compensation for beneficiaries who’ve been wronged. If the fiduciary has acted improperly, it may be possible to remove them from their position and force them to account for the assets in the estate.
The person or entity who has suffered a financial loss due to a breach of fiduciary duty may also be entitled to pursue damages against the fiduciary which are to be paid by the fiduciary themselves — not from the estate.
Fiduciary litigation disputes can arise in a variety of situations, including:
At Colorado Estate Matters, we represent parties on either side of these cases. For those who need to hold a fiduciary accountable, we can help you seek to rectify any wrongs suffered. And if you’ve been accused of breaching your fiduciary duty, we can work with you to challenge these allegations and protect your rights.
We know what tactics the other side will employ and can work proactively to defeat them and overcome any anticipated hurdles.
When you first contact us, we’ll begin with a free consultation where we’ll discuss your case and the specific facts involved. We’ll then provide you with an honest assessment of your claim and recommend a legal strategy tailored to your needs. If you decide to move forward with us, your next steps will depend on which side of the fiduciary litigation dispute you’re on.
If you’re seeking to file a claim against a fiduciary, we can help you gather evidence to support your claim and complete all necessary paperwork. We’ll file the appropriate documents with the proper court, represent you at all hearings, and will keep you informed every step of the way.
Our goal is to secure an outcome that’s fair for you and your family. This may be in the form of compensatory damages, which traditionally include economic damages such as reimbursement for lost assets (in the case of stolen/misused estate funds) and attorney’s fees. Non-economic damages, which cover intangible losses from the breach of duty, may also be included but are less common.
Equitable relief is another type of remedy that is often sought in these cases. This remedy is designed to restore you to the state that they would have been in had no breach of fiduciary duty occurred. This can include removing an executor or trustee from their position, ordering an accounting of estate funds, or imposing restrictions on how a fiduciary can use the trust funds.
Those who are defending a fiduciary litigation claim can also benefit from our services. After understanding the specifics of your case, we’ll sift through the evidence to develop a compelling defense and will work to have the claim dismissed. We’ll represent you at all hearings, in motion filings, and in negotiation sessions to preserve your reputation and minimize the financial impact of the legal action filed against you.
Our estate attorney in Denver can also advise on the steps you can take to prevent a fiduciary litigation claim or dispute in the future. This includes providing guidance on estate administration best practices, such as providing accurate and up-to-date records of all estate transactions, being transparent about your actions, and making sure to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries.
Identifying a breach of fiduciary duty can be complicated due to the nuanced nature of the legal standard. Generally speaking, a breach occurs when the fiduciary fails to act in accordance with the duties set out in the trust or estate documents.
The exact duties owed by a fiduciary depend on the type of relationship they have with the beneficiary — such as the executor of a will, trustee of a trust, or guardian/conservator — and the specific terms of engagement. Common examples of fiduciary duties include:
When filing a fiduciary litigation claim, the plaintiff (the person or entity claiming to have been wronged) has the burden of proving that the defendant (the fiduciary) breached one or more of their duties. In order for the court to award damages, the plaintiff must establish that these duties were violated by a preponderance of evidence — in other words, “it’s more likely than not” that the fiduciary breached their duties.
Four elements must be proven in order to establish a breach of fiduciary duty:
These elements will form the foundation of our legal strategy. For example, if you’re facing a breach of duty allegation, we may work to demonstrate that the fiduciary duty in question either didn’t exist or that it wasn’t breached.
This may be done by challenging the plaintiff’s evidence and witnesses or by bringing forth our own evidence and witnesses to counter their claims.
On the other hand, if you’re filing a claim against a fiduciary, we’ll thoroughly investigate the case by gathering evidence and expert testimony that demonstrates each element of a breach of fiduciary duty.
If you’re unsure whether you have a valid breach of fiduciary duty claim, our experienced estate attorney in Denver can help you determine the strength of your case and outline the next steps. In the event that your case doesn’t meet the criteria for a breach of fiduciary duty claim, we can help you explore other possible legal remedies that may be available.
Fiduciaries can include anyone from accountants and bankers to business advisors and real estate agents. In the context of estate matters, the most common fiduciaries are executors/administrators of wills and trustees of trusts.
Breaches of fiduciary duty in these situations often involve the mismanagement or mishandling of estate funds. This can include stealing assets, misappropriation of funds, improper accounting/investment practices, failure to properly record financial activities of the estate or trust, and failure to follow the terms of a trust.
Fiduciaries in estate matters may also withhold information from beneficiaries or behave in a manner that favors some beneficiaries over others. Some breaches of fiduciary duty may also involve significantly delaying the administration of an estate or failing to take any action at all.
In addition to financial mismanagement, fiduciaries can be held accountable for other violations such as failure to properly care for a ward or engaging in conflicts of interest. In estate-related cases, conflicts of interest can arise if the executor or trustee conducts operations of the estate that primarily benefit the fiduciary instead of the beneficiaries.
No matter the nature of the alleged breach, the Denver fiduciary litigation attorney at Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd. can help you fight for your rights and pursue a just and fair outcome. We understand the complexities of estate matters and have extensive experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in breach of duty claims. Our mission is to uphold your interests and provide a comprehensive approach to navigating your legal issue.
If you think that you or an estate have been wronged, we invite you to contact our office for a free consultation. We’re here to answer your questions and suggest a course of action that best suits your needs. With our insight, knowledge, and resources at your disposal, you can rest assured that your case is in capable hands. Give us a call at (303) 724-9147 to get started today.