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What is the best way to prevent a trustee from self dealing ?

This legal question related to trusts & estate planning in Colorado has been answered.

Location: Colorado  |  Law type: trusts & estate planning

My mother passed 1 year ago and my sister is the trustee of her trust.

  • There are 3 beneficiaries ; my sister (trustee) and my brother and I.
  • One of the assets was my mothers house whom my sister is selling to her son (my nephew).
  • My brother and I agreed to sell it to my nephew at fair market price 1 year ago and my nephew has had problems getting the financing and the asset is now worth considerably more (+ $100K) and when I mentioned it to her she claims we agreed to the price 1 year ago.
  • The average time real estate is on the market in Colorado is approx 21 days and this asset has still not been sold to my nephew.
  • How do my brother and I as beneficiaries prevent her from selling the asset substantially below the fair market value to her son??

Thank You,

Youngest sibling



Commonly posted questions...

Legal Solution

The response provided below is specific to trusts & estate planning in the jurisdiction of Colorado. If the response is inadequate, please submit a detailed inquiry.

Addressing Trustee Self-Dealing in Colorado

The situation describes a potential act of self-dealing where a trustee may be attempting to sell a trust asset below the fair market value for personal gain. Addressing this issue requires a thorough understanding of trust laws in Colorado and an in-depth evaluation of the actions of the trustee in question.

Relevant Statutes and Sources

  • Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) § 15-1-101 et seq. - Colorado Probate Code, specifically provisions regarding trusts.
  • Colorado Judicial Branch - For accessing court records and understanding judicial processes.

Solutions for the Problem

  1. Document Everything: Maintain records of all communications with the trustee and other relevant parties. This documentation can be essential if you decide to take legal action.

  2. Consultation with an Attorney: Engage a probate lawyer to assess the situation and provide guidance. The lawyer can clarify if the trustee's actions violate the trust's terms or Colorado law.

  3. Mediation: Consider arbitration and mediation attorneys. They can provide a platform for all parties to come to a mutual agreement without resorting to court.

  4. Petition the Court: If all else fails, beneficiaries can petition the Colorado courts to review the trustee's actions. If found guilty of misconduct, the court can remove the trustee or enforce other remedies.

Average Legal Costs in Colorado

Service Average Cost
Initial Consultation with a Lawyer $300 - $500
Mediation Services $1,000 - $3,000
Probate Court Proceedings $5,000 - $20,000
Trustee Misconduct Investigations $2,500 - $7,000

Note: Prices can vary based on the complexity of the case and the experience of the lawyer.

Further Information Needed

To better assist you, could you clarify the terms of the trust? Particularly, any clauses related to asset sale or trustee powers can be critical. Also, it would be beneficial to know if there's an explicit dispute resolution method outlined in the trust.

Engage the Right Expertise: When dealing with trust issues, always consult experts to ensure your interests are protected. Whether you're aiming to resolve disputes amicably or consider litigation, you can find the right lawyer best suited to your needs.

Questions for Consideration:

  • What specific duties and powers does the trust document give to the trustee concerning asset sales?
  • Have you or your brother formally objected to the sale in writing?
  • Are there other instances where the trustee may have engaged in self-dealing or misconduct?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I remove a trustee in Colorado?

In Colorado, beneficiaries or co-trustees can petition the court for the removal of a trustee if they believe the trustee is not acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries or is violating the trust's terms.

Can a trustee sell trust property without beneficiaries' consent?

The trust document typically dictates the trustee's powers. In many cases, trustees have broad powers to manage and sell trust assets. However, they must always act in the best interest of the beneficiaries and in accordance with the trust's terms.

What is the statute of limitations for challenging a trustee's actions?

Generally, under Colorado law, the statute of limitations for breach of fiduciary duty is three years. However, this can vary based on specific circumstances and when the breach was discovered.

Is it mandatory for trustees to provide accountings to beneficiaries?

Yes, under Colorado trust law, trustees are typically required to provide regular accountings to beneficiaries, showing all transactions, expenses, and distributions from the trust.

What can be done if the trustee does not provide accounting?

Beneficiaries can petition the court to compel the trustee to provide an accounting. If the trustee fails to do so, they can face legal consequences, including potential removal.


This content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.

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Legal question "What is the best way to prevent a trustee from self dealing ?" has been changed 9 months 3 weeks ago. Demonstrate your legal skills and willingness to help and answer right now! Issue is related to the location of Colorado & area of law: trusts & estate planning.
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