A Trustee, who holds legal title to Trust property as a fiduciary, is required to manage the property with reasonable care, refrain from any type of self-dealing with the property, and avoid any situation wherein the Trustee’s personal interests conflict with those of the beneficiaries. The law requires a Trustee to act in good faith and perform selflessly, and to not abuse or take advantage of his or her fiduciary position or the trust that has been placed in him or her. One of the general fiduciary obligations undertaken by the Trustee is the duty to deal impartially with the beneficiaries during the administration of the Trust.
Many standards of care have developed under Florida law concerning a Trustee’s administration of the assets subject to the Trust. Generally, a Trustee must act prudently, not only in the area of Trust investments, but in all other areas of Trust administration as well. A Trustee may be held liable if he or she fails to exercise the care and skill of a prudent person in the protection of the Trust. The Trustee not only must preserve the Trust property for the beneficiaries, but he or she must also make the Trust property productive.
John Morrissey has been involved in numerous Trust administrations since he began his legal career in 1993. This has included the representation of Trustees in connection with their administration of Trusts, and particularly their duties to inform and account to beneficiaries. In addition, Mr. Morrissey has been involved in numerous Trust litigation matters, representing fiduciaries, beneficiaries and other interested persons in adversary proceedings, including the following:
- Disputes concerning the validity of Trusts and Trust Amendments.
- Disputes concerning the construction and meaning of Trusts and Trust Amendments.
- Disputes concerning the capacity of the settlor to execute a Trust or Trust Amendment.
- Disputes concerning alleged undue influence exerted upon the settlor to execute a Trust or Trust Amendment.
- Disputes over who the beneficiaries are of a Trust.
- Disputes between beneficiaries.
- Disputes between beneficiaries and the Trustee.
- Disputes concerning the sale or disposition of Trust assets.