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David Russell

2019 CSA Conference


David Russell

Vice President and Trust Officer
Argent Trust


Elder Fiduciary Litigation - Lessons from the Courtroom

The Courtroom has been called the arbitor of last resort. Yet these public records provide us with the unwelcome details of the lives of individuals and families whose conflicts with fiduciaries resulted in litigation. This session presents a non-legal analysis of some of the cases that have implications for individuals and families working with older individuals.     

Presented in the entertaining style of Law & Order, the session uses actual court cases and classic sitcom characters to dramatize the events, facts, and people involved. The presentation is not intended for legal analysis or commentary but rather to equip the non-lawyer with a sense of what can and often does go wrong in relationships that are implicitly or explicitly fiduciary in nature.     

Concepts such as consent, capacity, and undue influence, will be presented and discussed in the context of elder financial abuse. Participants should come away with an understanding of when a fiduciary relationship arises, and the duties owed by a fiduciary.   

Cases include the misuse of Powers of Attorney, breaches of fiduciary duty by trustees, guardians, conservators, and family members with the primary goal of learning how to avoid the courtroom, both for ourselves, our families, and our clients.     

  •  Lintz vs Lintz – “Fool Me Once, Shame on You, Fool Me Thrice, Shame on Me” - The unfortunate case of undue influence, breach of fiduciary duty, and elder financial abuse
  •  Bowen vs Bowen – “Throw Mama from the Train” or When children move in with Mom, to “take care of her in her old age”   
  •  Gwinn vs Gwinn – The case of the happy widow who remarries and squanders the kids’ inheritance from Dad     

Learning Objectives

  • To be aware of recent litigation cases involving fiduciary relationships
  • To identify potential issues that left alone, may result in conflict and litigation
  • To understand what it means to be a fiduciary and the duties involved

About David

David is a vice president and trust officer with Argent Trust, a $19 Billion independent trust company with 33 offices in 12 southern states. He has been providing financial advice to individuals, families, and institutions since 1984. At 24 years of age, David took an interest in the relatively new field of financial planning and later earned his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation in 1987 and his Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) designation in 2017. He has spent the majority of his career helping families plan for their future, focusing on estate plan design, and trust management for high net worth families.

Throughout his thirty plus year career, David has counseled several hundred families, businesses, and individuals on how to achieve their financial and life goals. He is a frequent speaker and is well regarded for his ability to communicate complex issues into understandable language.

In 2009, he became the financial caregiver for his own parents and learned by that experience that he had not been preparing his clients and their families for advanced age. In 2012, he authored his first book, What You Need to Know: The Adult Child’s Guide to Becoming an Effective Financial Caregiver and began to focus much of his career on helping families facing the financial issues of age transitions. He is the founder and creator of, an educational website designed to provide education, coaching, and support to families everywhere who are working through the financial and emotional challenges of age transitions.

David is a full-fledged member of the Sandwich Generation as a parent of four grown children, a grandparent, adult child, adult son-in-law, and father-in-law; sometimes stumbling through the roles of each, learning with each misstep and hopefully passing on something in the process. He and his wife Susan have been married 37 years and divide their time between Ridgeland, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee.

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