This concerns a probate matter in the State of Colorado. The trustee resides in Alexandria, VA. I would like to bring suit against the Trustee for malfeasance. Can this be done in Civil Court or must it be in Probate. Can I file an action against the Trustee in Virginia or must it be Colorado as the case is sitused there.
Hmm. Interesting question. It sounds like you've got a trust because there is a trustee. Does the trust specify which law controls? Does it specify a venue for disputes? If not specified in the trust document, I think Colorado courts would have jurisdiction ("power") over the dispute... the question is whether Venue (i.e., place of trial) would be proper here. Most drafters of these documents, when professionally drafted, seek to clarify these issues by selecting a controlling law and specifying a particular venue. You could bring suit in a Colorado court and see if the trustee objects to venue. If the damages caused by the bad acts occurred here, and especially if the trust beneficiaries are in Colorado, there is a chance it could stay here. Otherwise, have a look at Colorado rule of Civil Procedure, Rule 98. Also, your claim may be for "breach of fiduciary duty." I think I'd bring my claim in District Court, rather than in the Denver Probate Court in a normal civil action for breach of fiduciary duty. However, if the claim exceeds $75K, and the trustee is a citizen of VA, then you may be able to bring your case in Colorado's federal court. 28 USC 1332. In addition to breach of fiduciary duty, consider bringing a claim for accounting, which will force an accounting pursuant to Colorado statute. In that way, you'll be able to tell if there was financial dishonesty.
There is much that needs to be known that is not apparent in the facts yoou provided. Is the trust a testamentary trust or an inter-vivos trust? Does the trust instrument contain provisions concerning the location of the management of the trust or designating certain courts to try law suits concerning the trust? Where are assets of the trust located? What are the acts of malfeasance? From what is indicated in the question both Colorado and Virginia courts may have jurisdiction to hear a law suit concerning the trust. In which case, the party initiating the law suit can chose the state where the case will be filed. If the trust is a testamentary trust set out in a will admitted to probate, proceedings might be brought in the probate case in which the will was filed but might also be part of a separate action. Your best approach would be to confer with an attorney knowledgeable about probate matters.
I think there are many questions that need to be answered. Your best course of action is to schedule a meeting with an attorney experienced in trust and probate litigation.
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