A fiduciary is an individual or corporate entity that has a duty to act with loyalty, care, and good faith for someone based on an established relationship. The fiduciary duty obligates the fiduciary to act in the best interest of the party owed the duty of care. Examples of fiduciaries include but are not limited to powers of attorney, court-appointed guardians, trustees, and personal representatives.
Because these individuals control and manage other people’s money, they are held to the highest standards by law. Our North Carolina estate litigation attorneys represent clients in disputes and litigation to rectify a breach of fiduciary duty.
Grounds for a Breach of Fiduciary Case
Numerous acts can give a principal or beneficiary grounds to sue a fiduciary for breach of duty. Examples of grounds for a civil lawsuit for breach of fiduciary duty include:
- Conversion (using the principal or beneficiary’s property for the fiduciary’s benefit)
- Conflicts of interest
- Co-mingling funds
- Incompetence or negligence
- Misappropriation or theft of funds or property
- Preferential treatment of specific beneficiaries to the detriment of others
- Failing to maintain current and accurate books and records
- Excessive waste of assets
- Failing to make sensible investments
- Acting recklessly or carelessly in managing the assets or funds
If a fiduciary commits a breach of duty, they can be held liable for the financial losses and damages sustained by the principal.
Pursuing a Breach of Fiduciary Case in North Carolina
Victims of breach of fiduciary duty can file civil lawsuits seeking compensation for their losses and damages. The principal has the burden of proof in these cases. They must have sufficient evidence to prove each element to hold the fiduciary legally liable for damages. The elements of a breach of fiduciary case are:
- A fiduciary relationship existed between the parties;
- The fiduciary had a duty of care to act in the principal’s best interest;
- The fiduciary breached the duty of care by failing to fulfill their obligations or duties as required by the relationship;
- The principal suffered harm and damages; and,
- The fiduciary’s acts or omissions were the proximate cause of the principal’s damages.
The North Carolina statute of limitations applies to breach of fiduciary cases. The court can dismiss your case if you do not file your claim before the deadline. Act quickly to seek legal advice to protect your rights.
What Damages Are Available for a Breach of Fiduciary Case in North Carolina?
The court can award compensatory damages to compensate the victim for monetary losses and restore the party to the same position it would have been in had it not been for the breach of duty. In some cases, the court may award equitable relief and punitive damages. The facts and circumstances of the case determine the types and amounts of damages.
Schedule a Consultation With Our North Carolina Estate Litigation Attorneys
Breach of duty cases are challenging and complex. If you are the victim of or accused of a breach of fiduciary duty, it is best to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. Contact our North Carolina estate litigation attorneys for a consultation and let our experienced team assist you.