Does the personal representative have the right to set the price for items in the estate and buy them before other family members can?

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Does the personal representative have the right to set the price for items in the estate and buy them before other family members can?

Asked on May 23, 2009 under Estate Planning, North Dakota

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The personal representative has a fiduciary duty to the estate.  That is, he/she must act in the best interests of the estate.  They cannot engage in self-dealing to the estate's detriment.  Opening up the sale of certain items to the most bidders possible will bring the highest price.  By not doing that the estate is diminished.

Without more facts it is hard to say for sure but it sounds as though you may have a breach of fiduciary duty here.  And note, if there is one found, the personal represtative could be held personally responsible and accountable, and may be expected to cover the loss personally.

You should contact a probate attorney in your area.  If the personal representative is an attorney you should report this matter to the probate court.


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