Does my sibling have right to see my late mother life insurance paperwork?

Full Question:

My mother passed away this year leaving a life insurance policy with myself only as beneficiary, she had no other assets and had lived with me for the past 7 years after my father died. He stated my mother did not want to go into a rest home and her monthly income of S & S should take care of her living with me, now my only other sibling is wanting to see all of my paperwork, does he have the right?
03/30/2010   |   Category: Fiduciary Duty   |   State: Minnesota   |   #21602

Answer:

Fiduciaries, such as guardians or executors, owe two main duties to their clients: a duty of loyalty and a duty of care. The duty of loyalty requires that fiduciaries act solely in the interest of their clients, rather than in their own interest. Thus fiduciaries must not derive any direct or indirect profit from their position, and must avoid potential conflicts of interest. The duty of care requires that fiduciaries perform their functions with a high level of competence and thoroughness, in accordance with industry standards.

The elements of a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty are:

(1) Plaintiff and Defendant share a relationship whereby:

(a) Plaintiff reposes trust and confidence in Defendant, and

(b) Defendant undertakes such trust and assumes a duty to advise, counsel and/or
protect Plaintiff;

(2) Defendant breaches its duties to Plaintiff; and

(3) Plaintiff suffers damages.

The elements of a claim for breach of fiduciary duty are not fixed as the claim may arise from virtually any case where one party accepts the trust and assumes the duty to protect a weaker party.

Affirmative defenses to a claim for breach of fiduciary duty can include, but are not limited to:

(1) The passing of the statute of limitations for filing the claim.

(2) Lack of fiduciary relationship (for example, when the parties did not enter a fiduciary relationship, but rather conducted business in an arm’s length transaction there is no duty to protect the other party or disclose facts which the other party could have discovered by its own diligence.)

(3) Lack of standing

(4) Approval (for example, if the alleged actions followed full disclosure to and the consent of the Plaintiff)

(5) Business judgment rule (ex. that the corporate fiduciary's actions were motivated by a bona fide interest in the well being of the corporation where shareholders are the ones owed the fiduciary duty)

An accounting may be required if ordered by a court. If you were her legal guardian or conservator, an accounting may be required to be filed with the court by statute.

Please see the following MN statutes to determine applicability:

524.5-419 Inventory; Records.

(a) Within 60 days after appointment, a conservator shall prepare and
file with the appointing court a detailed inventory of the estate subject
to the conservatorship, together with an oath or affirmation that the
inventory is believed to be complete and accurate as far as information
permits.

(b) A conservator shall keep records of the administration of the
estate and make them available for examination on reasonable request of
the court, ward, protected person, or any attorney representing such
persons.

524.5-420 Reports; Appointment of Visitor; Monitoring; Court Orders.

(a) A conservator shall report to the court for administration of the
estate annually unless the court otherwise directs, upon resignation or
removal, upon termination of the conservatorship, and at other times as
the court directs. An order, after notice and hearing, allowing an
intermediate report of a conservator adjudicates liabilities concerning
the matters adequately disclosed in the accounting. An order, after
notice and hearing, allowing a final report adjudicates all previously
unsettled liabilities relating to the conservatorship.

(b) A report must state or contain a listing of the assets of the
estate under the conservator's control and a listing of the receipts,
disbursements, and distributions during the reporting period.

(c) A protected person or an interested person of record with the court
may submit to the court a written statement disputing account statements
regarding the administration of the estate that are contained in the
report and may petition the court for any order that is in the best
interests of the protected person and the estate or for other appropriate
relief.

(d) The court may appoint a visitor to review a report or plan,
interview the protected person or conservator, and make any other
investigation the court directs. In connection with a report, the court
may order a conservator to submit the assets of the estate to an
appropriate examination to be made in a manner the court directs.

(e) The court shall establish a system for monitoring of
conservatorships, including the filing and review of conservators'
reports and plans. If an annual report is not filed within 60 days of the
required date, the court shall issue an order to show cause.

524.5-316 Reports; Monitoring of Guardianship; Court Orders.

(a) A guardian shall report to the court in writing on the condition of
the ward at least annually and whenever ordered by the court. A copy of
the report must be provided to the ward and to interested persons of
record with the court. A report must state or contain:

(1) the current mental, physical, and social condition of the ward;

(2) the living arrangements for all addresses of the ward during the
reporting period;

(3) any restrictions placed on the ward's right to communication and
visitation with persons of the ward's choice and the factual bases for
those restrictions;

(4) the medical, educational, vocational, and other services provided
to the ward and the guardian's opinion as to the adequacy of the ward's
care; and

(5) a recommendation as to the need for continued guardianship and any
recommended changes in the scope of the guardianship.

(b) A ward or interested person of record with the court may submit to
the court a written statement disputing statements or conclusions
regarding the condition of the ward that are contained in the report and
may petition the court for an order that is in the best interests of the
ward or for other appropriate relief.

(c) The court may appoint a visitor to review a report, interview the
ward or guardian, and make any other investigation the court directs.

(d) The court shall establish a system for monitoring guardianships,
including the filing and review of annual reports. If an annual report is
not filed within 60 days of the required date, the court shall issue an
order to show cause.