Fiduciary & Beneficiary Disputes, Breaches of Fiduciary Duty, Surcharge, and Removal Actions

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Amanda and her team at Cozen O’Connor represent fiduciary and beneficiary clients of all kinds in court-related actions, including income and remainder beneficiaries, individual and corporate trustees and executors, guardians, and agents in cases involving fiduciary obligations and duties and the breach of such obligations and duties. Examples of certain fiduciary duties and obligations might involve the duty to invest, the duty to diversify, the duty of loyalty and impartiality, and generally duties to conduct actions on behalf of the estate, trust, principal, or incapacitated person or minor as a reasonably prudent would with her or her own assets.

  • Obtained a significant monetary surcharge on behalf of a client against two co-executors and co-trustees in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, for the damage they caused to an estate and trust; proved that the co-executors mismanaged estate assets, comingled irrevocable trust assets with the estate assets, failed to file and delayed in filing estate and trust tax returns, incurred substantial interest and penalties for the failure to timely file estate and trust tax returns, and unreasonably delayed distribution of the estate and trust assets to the beneficiaries.
  • Represented an executor before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, who was the decedent’s significant other, in a surcharge action wherein the decedent’s children alleged the executor mismanaged the estate and misappropriated estate assets in his favor; established that a purchase money resulting trust existed in favor of the decedent’s significant other, resulting in dismissal of the surcharge action.
  • Defended two executors from a surcharge action in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, where the beneficiary alleged mismanagement and improper sale of the estate’s real property.
  • Before the Register of Wills of Philadelphia County, established on behalf of the client that the decedent’s daughter committed fraud upon the Register of Wills when she sought to obtain Letters of Administration for the decedents’ estate; the Register of Wills removed the decedent’s daughter as administrator and appointed the client as successor.
  • Represented the executrix of a decedent’s estate before the Atlantic County Superior Court, Chancery Division, in a multi-week trial concerning the validity of a shareholder agreement that the decedent and his business partner executed, which agreement would have resulted in the inequitable division of the company to the detriment of the client; following trial, the court issued an opinion in favor of the client and found that the agreement was invalid.
  • Negotiated settlement among estate beneficiaries involved in protracted litigation in the Ocean County Superior Court, Chancery Division, Probate Part, concerning the distribution of the decedent’s estate and real property.
  • Represented a trust beneficiary before the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, to compel trustees to account and subsequently negotiated and obtained a sizeable settlement for the client before litigation concerning the accounting commenced.
  • Sought and obtained court removal of a co-trustee and co-executor in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, Orphans’ Court Division, due to delay in completing administration of an estate for more than a decade and failure to properly account for administration of estate and trust.
  • Successfully litigated a dispute in Montgomery County, Pa., involving various breaches of fiduciary duty and theft by an Agent under a Durable Power of Attorney.