What is ethical behavior for an executor and what are the responsibilities of a power-of-attorney?

My brother is executor of my father and mother’s wills while he and I are joint beneficiaries but not the only siblings. My father is deceased but my mother alive so she is the sole inheritor so far. Both my brother and I have a power-of-attorney for my mother. I fear my brother is “playing games” for his own benefit with my mother’s money but then he always did and he’s the one they picked. I’m not interested in inheritance, only my legal liability as POA if my brother’s behavior is unethical. Do I need to get a lawyer and describe his behavior in detail to protect myself?

Asked on July 20, 2012 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As to your mother's current assets on hand, since you and your brother share a joint power of attorney as to her, both of you owe a fiduciary duty to your mother to disclose all with respect to her finances and her interests when asked in a prompt manner. Same goes as to each other as to your mother's interests.

As to your brother being the executor of your father's Will, he has the same fiduciary duty of full and prompt disclosure to all beneficiaries as to your father's estate. Given your concerns as to your brother, you might consult with a Wills and trust attorney to seek an accounting from your brother as to your mother and your father's estate.


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