Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Article on Defining Duties of the Trustee’s Delegates

William EcholsWilliam S. Echols (J.D. Candidate, Texas Tech University School of Law, May 2015) recently published a comment entitled, Action in the Chasm: Defining Duties of the Trustee’s Delegates, Estate Planning and Community Property Law Journal, Vol. 6 Bk. 2, Summer 2014. Provided below is the introduction of the comment:

The first question begged by the title, is “what is a chasm?” The answer to that, within the confines of this Comment, is the space that either legislative of judicial action leaves undefined. The specific chasm in this piece is that of the duties owed by a person to whom the trustee delegates fiduciary authority. In most instances, this will be an agent of the trust, whose duties to the beneficiaries are undefined by the contract or the trust instrument, which makes the agent’s liability an open question. This question of liability is an area that remains unanswered by the judiciary and substantially so by legislatures as well.


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Interesting commentary, particularly from a probate litigation perspective. Can beneficiaries sue third party service providers to a trust, like a trust protector or an investment agent to whom investment duties have been delegated? What state may, or may not, exert personal jurisdiction over such third party service providers regarding trusts? Florida has a Florida Trust Code which does subject investment agents to the jurisdiction of Florida courts and also has a "new" personal jurisdiction statute which "hauls in" third parties who provide services to a Florida trust (or trustee.) Not much of a chasm in the Sunshine State.

Posted by: John Pankauski | Aug 28, 2014 4:33:50 AM

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