Fraud in trusts
Any suspicion of fraud in a trust naturally causes great concern. If you've been affected by an alleged fraud - whether as a trustee, executor, fiduciary or trust beneficiary - we can advise on the best strategy.
‘The classic example of fraud is a sham trust, set up to hide money from creditors, tax authorities or even due to a divorce,’ explains Steven Kempster, a partner in Withers’ contentious trust and succession team. ‘Or it might be an allegation of wrongdoing by a trustee or executor: perhaps someone has stolen from a trust, or there are concerns about ill-gotten gains going into it.’
We have significant experience of attacking and defending trusts and trustees. In one recent case, our US team in San Diego defended a trustee who was accused of breaching his fiduciary duties by the trust beneficiaries, who suggested that he was taking kickbacks from real estate agents and appraisers. We were able to show at trial that these claims were utterly without foundation, and the beneficiaries opted to settle before the trial concluded.
In some cases, deploying technical arguments to challenge the formal setup of the trust can achieve the best results. Here, our litigators’ in-depth knowledge of trusts can be a valuable weapon in a client’s arsenal.
However complex the situation, whether you are directly or indirectly affected by fraud, we offer pragmatic advice regarding proof and evaluation of evidence, as well as the available remedies, that will help you to decide on the best course of action. With lawyers based in 18 locations, from the US to Australia, we work as a single global team to get information and if necessary obtain and enforce a court order.
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