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Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorney in Cleveland

A fiduciary is a person or organization with an obligation to act in the best interest of another party or parties, without regard to their own best interest, in a way that preserves good faith and trust.  Examples of a fiduciary in the context of estate settlement include an executor or administrator (charged with settling an estate), and a trustee (charged with administering a trust). 

The general duties of a fiduciary as part of the estate-settlement process are: 

  • Collection of assets
  • Payment of debts
  • Proper distribution of assets to heirs 

Fiduciaries can be held liable for mishandling an estate. If  an  executor  or  administrator  neglects  to  sell   personal   property   that   is   required   to   be   sold,   and   instead  retains,  consumes,  or  disposes  of  it  for  his  or  her  own  benefit,  he  or  she  Will  be  charged  with  the  personal  property  at  double  the  appraised  value.  Ohio  Rev.  Code  Ann.  §  2113.34. Fiduciaries must be bonded and insured in most cases, which means they must have a solid credit rating. With some exceptions, he or she must also be an Ohio resident who is at least 18 years of age. 

For this reason, it is common for someone placed in a fiduciary role to seek out the advice and guidance of an experienced Cleveland probate attorney. 

Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim

There are a number of common scenarios in which fiduciary actions or inactions can harm heirs, including: 

  • Failure to timely file an inventory of assets.
  • Failure to properly notice surviving spouse, creditors and other entitled parties.
  • Failure to properly settle debts 
  • Improper debt settlement
  • Not settling debts in the proper order as outlined by Ohio law. 
  • Improper liquidation of real estate and other assets. 
  • Self-dealing
  • Fraud
  • Failure to act in best interest of the estate
  • Failure to distribute assets to designated heirs
  • Failure to resolve conflicts in estate documents or beneficiary accounts before distribution.

Fiduciary relationships may also exist outside of the probate process, particularly as it relates to trustees of certain trust accounts. Assets that are not distributed through probate include assets held in some trusts, some real estate held jointly, and assets that are Transferable on Death or Payable on Death. Fiduciary responsibilities involving such assets are best discussed with an experienced probate lawyer in Cleveland. 

The Law Offices of Daniel McGowan, LLC is a full-service law practice, with extensive experience in the areas of litigation and trial practice, elder law, and probate law and trust law.  Daniel McGowan is well known for his experience with the probate process and Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio and probate courts.  He has a reputation for being accessible and for his thoughtful and innovative manner he solves probate problems and other civil disputes.

Daniel McGowan represents clients in probate and estate matters throughout the Cleveland area, including Lakewood, Rocky River, Fairview Park, Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, South Euclid, East Cleveland, Linndale, Brooklyn, Parma, Brook Park. Newburgh Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Brooklyn Heights, Warrensville Heights, Maple Heights, Garfield Heights, Bratenahl and Euclid.

Call 216-242-6054 today for a free and confidential consultation.

Law Offices of Daniel McGowan, LLC is a full-service law practice, with extensive experience in the areas of litigation and trial practice, elder law, and probate law and trust law. The information on this website, however, is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Each legal situation is unique and you should consult with a reputable attorney regarding your specific circumstances.
700 W. St. Clair Avenue,
Suite 400
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 242-6054

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