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How Do You Prove Breach of Fiduciary Duty in Georgia?

We are often in positions where we rely on others to act in our best interests, often in a legal and economic sense. Unfortunately, not everyone fulfills their duties, and you may need an attorney to help you file a lawsuit, as proving a breach of fiduciary duty can be difficult.

To prove a breach of fiduciary duty, you must first establish that the defendant was a fiduciary, meaning they were legally entrusted to protect your best interests. You next have to show how they violated this duty. Since many people who breach this duty try to cover their tracks, finding evidence of wrongdoing can be challenging. Some common examples of a breach of fiduciary include but are not limited to, conflicts of interest, self-dealing, and misappropriation of money or assets. Lastly, you must prove the damages you or your company suffered.

For a private review of your case, call our Georgia lawyers for a breach of fiduciary duty at Howe & Associates at (678) 680-6983.

What is a Breach of Fiduciary Duty in Georgia?

A fiduciary duty exists when someone has a legal obligation to act in the best interests of someone else. This duty often reflects an economic interest. The person who owes this duty is referred to as the fiduciary, and the person to whom the duty is owed is the principal or the beneficiary. A breach of fiduciary duties might occur when the fiduciary acts in a way that is harmful to the beneficiary, often economically.

Fiduciary duties are often imposed through business arrangements and contracts. For example, you might appoint or hire a fiduciary to manage your estate and finances. Depending on the nature of the job, a manager hired by an employer often owes a fiduciary duty to their employer and the business they work for. Corporate officers are typically fiduciaries, too.

A breach of fiduciary duty involves something the fiduciary does that hurts the beneficiary’s interests. For example, reckless spending or gross mismanagement that leads to a loss of profit or economic penalties might be considered a breach of fiduciary duty.

What exactly does a breach of fiduciary duty look like? In some cases, this is an intentional breach, such as engaging in some kind of fraud to swindle the beneficiary out of money or profits. This might be as simple as skimming money from business accounts to more complex schemes of fraud and deception. In others, it could be self-dealing or a conflict of interest that causes them to look out for their own interests ahead of their principal’s interests.

A breach of fiduciary duty is an extremely serious matter, as beneficiaries and principals are often left to clean up complex financial messes left by the fiduciary.

Proving a violation of some fiduciary duty can be tricky. Exactly how you should prove your claims depends on how the breach happened and the role of the fiduciary. Many wrongdoers take extra steps to cover their tracks, making it harder to find evidence. Our Georgia lawyers for a breach of fiduciary duty has handled these kinds of claims before and knows where to look to uncover evidence.

Proving a Breach of Fiduciary Duty Occurred in Georgia

Proving that a breach occurred is no simple task. Many fiduciaries who breach their duty go to great lengths to cover their tracks, erasing or hiding evidence. Often, beneficiaries do not realize there has been a breach of fiduciary duty for a long time. A fiduciary might be cheating you for years before you realize something is wrong.

Evidence to prove a breach often comes from business and financial records. It is difficult for a fiduciary to do anything with your accounts or assets without leaving some paper trail. Transactions, withdrawals, deposits, transfers, and almost anything else that happens to your money, accounts, and assets are recorded somewhere. If the defendant is an employee or agent of yours, our attorneys should comb through your business records to see if we can find clues as to what happened. We should also review records maintained by your banks and other financial institutions that might have been affected or involved.

Many breaches of fiduciary duty involve a breach of contract. The fiduciary might have been someone you had a contract with, and they failed to live up to the terms and conditions of the deal. We need the contract itself as evidence. Sometimes, the defendant’s actions are so clearly a contract violation that little other evidence is needed.

The Elements of Fiduciary Duty in a Georgia Case

Understanding exactly what a fiduciary duty entails requires an understanding of the elements of a fiduciary duty. First, there is the duty of care. This is a general duty that involves a fiduciary making sure they are informed and prepared enough to handle their job.

Next is the duty of loyalty. This requires the fiduciary to always put the interests and well-being of the beneficiaries first. If the fiduciary’s interests conflict with the beneficiaries’ interests, the fiduciary should remove themselves from the situation so a different fiduciary can step in.

The duty of good faith requires the fiduciary to always act within the law when doing their job to help the beneficiaries. Even if the fiduciary can further the interests of the beneficiaries through illegal means, they are forbidden from doing so.

The duty of prudence requires the fiduciary to act to the best of their abilities at all times and make decisions carefully and thoughtfully. Hasty actions that have not been thought through might be a violation of a fiduciary’s duty if the beneficiaries’ interests are harmed in the process.

The duty of disclosure requires the fiduciary to be honest, candid, and forthcoming with beneficiaries. If things are going bad, the fiduciary must inform the beneficiaries. If things are going great, tell the beneficiaries. If you are kept in the dark and suddenly your assets or accounts take a big hit, you might be able to sue.

Call Our Georgia Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorneys for Help

For a confidential assessment of your case, call our Atlanta lawyers for a breach of fiduciary duty at Howe & Associates at (678) 680-6983.