Trustee of $15 Million Estate Treats it as His Own


Financial Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Kentucky and involves a $15 million estate left by a father to his daughter. After receiving the estate, the daughter was severely injured in a car accident which left her brain damaged. For many years after her accident, her uncle served as her trustee. While serving as her trustee, he engaged in transactions and treated her assets as his own. He invested in real estate, futures trading, and other partnership arrangements. Additionally, he borrowed money from the trust. While involved in those businesses, he split the profits into three giving a third to himself, a third to his niece, and a third to his business partner.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • Did the uncle misappropriate the funds and break his fiduciary duties to his niece?

Expert Witness Response E-004518

By engaging in stock trading, real estate investments, and sharing in a significant portion of the profits with a business partner, there does seem to be a question of whether the uncle kept his fiduciary duty of acting in the best interest of the niece. Further information on the exact transactions like how the real estate was used, what was the uncle’s relationship with the business partner, and other details on how the uncle utilized the money in the trust would be needed. This is my area of expertise, as I am a financial professional with significant experience in the trust industry. I have previously examined issues in trust administration, client account management, and training. I have worked in the industry for over twenty years, and I am a part of many relevant professional societies.

Expert Witness Response E-004521

With over forty years in the trust business, I am very familiar with the fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries of a trust, only. If you have evidence that the trustee invested in something he and a partner owned or managed, and if they paid themselves anything from the trust, you’ve probably got a pretty good case. I am familiar with land trust situations, having handled many of them in my career. I feel particularly qualified for this type of case because I have spent my entire career as a trust officer. My experience has been in different types of trusts. I have worked as a manager of a trust shop, and spent fifteen years as the department head of another trust.

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