Hi, I’m Reed Bloodworth, the managing partner
of Bloodworth Law. Our new office is located at 801 N. Magnolia Avenue, Suite 216, in downtown
Orlando, Florida. Our second office is located at 331 West Central
Avenue, Suite 244, in Winter Haven, Florida. We handle many types of trust litigation cases
and represent both plaintiffs and defendants in trust litigation. In trust disputes we represent trustees, grantors,
beneficiaries, financial institutions, banks–any individual or entity involved in a Florida
trust lawsuit. Today I will talk about what generally happens
when a trustee is accused of stealing from a trust. First, Florida law includes a trust code that
outlines specific duties and actions that trustees are required to follow as fiduciaries.
A trustee is supposed to disclose all material facts about transactions and the management
of a trust. This information is supplied in an annual accounting. When done properly,
an annual accounting can limit the time for interested persons to challenge the actions
and transactions disclosed in the accounting to six months. Second, if you are a trustee accused of stealing
from a trust, talk with an experienced trust litigation attorney immediately. A Florida
trust litigator will assist you in trust disputes that may include a settlement, negotiations,
or, when necessary, lawsuits. Third, if allegations of theft or fraud are
being made against a trustee, an attorney will either challenge the trustee’s annual
accounting or make a formal demand for an Annual Accounting if the trustee has not supplied
one. When necessary, forensic accountants may be
hired to determine whether there were any misdeeds by the trustee. Most of the time, claims of theft or misappropriation
revolve around disagreements over property transfers, but there are many ways a trustee
could potentially misappropriate funds from a trust. Here are some acts of theft by a
trustee: • Pocketing, hiding, or excluding known
assets from the trust to keep it for themselves or away from beneficiaries. • Investing trust assets in the trustee’s
personal interests vs. the interests of the trust and the beneficiaries. • Trustees paying themselves an exorbitant
trustee fee. • Purchasing an asset from the trust at
a lower price than its value. • Distributing funds indiscriminately or
not in accordance with the trust. • Taking out personal loans from the trust. • Taking assets and selling them and keeping
the profits. • Attempting to hide, alter, or disguise
transactions. These illegal activities could result in charges
of breach of fiduciary duty, civil theft, and fraud. Florida law allows for the recovery of attorney’s
fees for failure to properly account for trust assets. Again, I’m Reed Bloodworth, the managing
partner of Bloodworth Law. If you believe that a trustee has committed theft, fraud,
or has stolen assets from a trust, give me a call. Let’s talk about how Bloodworth
Law can help you, your business, or your family.