12 Jun Attorney’s fees available in minor trust account proceedings
The North Carolina Court of Appeals has issued a stark warning to custodians or trustees who mismanage minor trust accounts. In the case of Belk v. Belk, the Court of Appeals allowed for an award of attorney’s fees against a custodian who made multiple withdrawals from a trust account for purposes that did not benefit his minor child.
Although North Carolina courts have routinely ordered custodians to refund (with interest) inappropriate withdraws, Belk v. Belk created new precedent also requiring the custodian to pay the petitioner’s attorney’s fees. This ruling provides a great disincentive to any custodian misappropriating funds from an account created under the Uniform Transfers to Minor Act (UTMA). Put simply, using funds for any purpose that does not directly benefit the minor child can have dire consequences.
If you have questions about the UTMA or a custodian’s duties in managing trust accounts, Dozier Miller Law Group’s family law team is here to help.