Trustees Obligation to Inform Beneficiaries: Avoiding Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims

Reconciling Discrepancies Between Trust Document and State Law, Navigating State Statutes and UTC Provisions

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A


Tuesday, August 22, 2017 (Tomorrow)
1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT


This CLE webinar will provide estate planning counsel and advisers with a thorough and practical guide to navigating trustees’ duties to inform beneficiaries and report trust existence and performance. The panel will address the key obligations that advisers to fiduciaries need to grasp and meet to avoid liability and defend against beneficiary claims.

Description

A critical obligation for trustees of irrevocable trusts is the duty to inform beneficiaries of the trust’s existence and activities. Trustees often find themselves facing beneficiary claims of breach of fiduciary duty for failure to comply with these responsibilities. And, compliance is frequently complicated by inconsistencies between the trust document and the applicable state law. Fiduciaries and their advisers can avoid liability by thoroughly understanding the key components of a trustee’s duty to inform.

While there is no uniform standard governing trustees’ duty to inform, virtually every state imposes a fiduciary duty on trustees to provide certain information to trust beneficiaries. Most states require trustees to provide regular trust accountings to some or all current beneficiaries. Additionally, states have long recognized the right of beneficiaries to receive information on request.

Many states’ trust statutes will not relieve the trustee of the duty to inform, except in very limited circumstances. Because of variances in the scope of the duty to inform among the states in defining the duty to inform, advisers to fiduciaries, especially non-professional trustees, should have a solid grasp of these fiduciary duties to avoid unexpected liability.

Listen as our panel of authoritative presenters provides estate planning and trust counsel with practical guidance for understanding and complying with trustees’ duties to provide information to beneficiaries, report trust existence and performance, and meet key obligations to avoid liability and defend against beneficiary claims.

Outline

  1. The Trustee's Duty to Inform and the Beneficiary's Right to Information
    1. At Common Law
    2. Under the Uniform Trust Code
  2. The Trustee's Duty to Account and Responding to Requests for Accountings
  3. Silent or Quiet Trusts
    1. Silencing a Noisy Trust
    2. Creating a Silent Trust from Scratch
  4. Avoiding Claims for Breach of the Fiduciary Duty to Inform

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What disclosures are trustees almost always required to make to beneficiaries?
  • What are the Uniform Trust Code (UTC) provisions for required disclosures?
  • What trust document provisions limiting a trustee’s duty to disclose and report will be honored under most state laws? Under the UTC?
  • When can a trustee utilize non-mandatory disclosures to further protect against breach of fiduciary duty claims for failure to report?

Faculty

Nicole K. Mann, Partner
McDermott Will & Emery, Chicago

Ms. Mann focuses her practice on all aspects of tax and estate planning, estate and trust administration and family business planning. She also has considerable experience in estate, trust and tax litigation involving disputes between and among family members, fiduciaries and beneficiaries.

Jared R. Cloud, Partner
McDermott Will & Emery, Chicago

Mr. Cloud counsels clients on estate, trust and family business disputes. He represents fiduciaries and beneficiaries in litigation before courts in numerous jurisdictions. He represents clients in trust litigation, including trust construction, contested accountings, trust reformation and actions for breach of fiduciary duty; estate litigation, including will contests, probate claims and will construction; family business disputes, including succession disputes, separation of interests and buyout of minority stakeholders outside of litigation, as well as litigation of derivative actions, oppression claims by minority shareholders and partnership accountings; and contested guardianship matters, including disputes over competence and the appointment of an appropriate guardian.


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This webinar is eligible for at least 1.5 general CLE credits.

CLE credits are not available for PR.

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Anderson Hunter Law Firm

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Estate Planning Advisory Board

Gary D. Altman

Principal and Founder

Altman & Assoc.

Brian M. Annino

Partner

Annino Law Firm

Richard S. Franklin

Member

Franklin Karibjanian & Law

J. Leigh Griffith

Partner and Practice Group Leader - Tax

Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

L. Paul Hood, Jr.

Consultant, Speaker and Author

The University of Toledo Foundation

Denise L. Iocco

Partner

Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf

Donna J. Jackson

Atty

Donna J. Jackson, Attorney at Law

Salvatore J. LaMendola

Member

Giarmarco Mullins & Horton

Edwin P. Morrow, III, Esq.

Senior Wealth Specialist

Key Private Bank Wealth Advisory Services

Scott K. Tippett

Atty

The Tippett Law Firm

Susan M. von Herrmann

Partner

Perkins Coie

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