It is not uncommon to find Breach of Fiduciary Duty cases in probate courts around Texas. Towards the end of their lives people often rely heavily on others to help them get by on a day-to-day basis. This creates a relationship of trust and reliance. The fiduciary relationships that arise in these situations provide important benefits to both parties. Beyond that, many people act on behalf of the elderly using Powers of Attorney. Such documents are an integral part of estate planning, but they are also easy to abuse.
Consider the elements necessary to prove a breach of fiduciary duty cause of action:
(1) There is fiduciary relationship between the plaintiff and defendant;
(2) The defendant breached his fiduciary duty to the plaintiff; and,
(3) The defendant's breach proximately caused injury to the plaintiff or benefit to the defendant.
There are a number of formal relationships such as acting as someone’s agent, serving as executor, and being a trustee that give rise to a fiduciary relationship. Informal relationships based on trust and confidence in another can also give rise to a fiduciary relationship.
A fiduciary is duty bound to act in the best interest of the person they are serving. If they fail to do so they have breached their fiduciary obligations. Whether a breach has occurred and whether it has resulted in damages can be a fairly technical area of the law to understand and apply. However, if you suspect that someone you love is being taken advantage of by someone they trust and rely on, you should seek help sooner rather than later. A lawsuit can rarely undo all the damage a fiduciary might cause. Indeed, even though you might recoup money, a lawsuit will not resolve the emotional backlash of being let down by someone you trust.