Legal standing for property

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Legal standing for property

My older brother was executor for our parents property after they passed away. I found out around Oct last year from my other brother that the house was going to be sold for back taxes. After checking with the tax assessor offices in Enfield conn, I found out that the property had already been sold for the back taxes which were in excess of $23,000. He had failed to keep up the taxes for over 5 years I found out. I also have found out that his older daughter was the one who successfully purchased the property. Hasn’t he failed in his fiduciary responsibilities of his position as executor and what are my options against him and his daughter at this point?

Asked on June 16, 2018 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, your brother does appear to have violated his fiduciary duty as executor: he failed in his duty of care by failing to pay taxes; he failed in his duty of loyalty by lying to you; and he failed in his duty of loyalty even more by engaging in a form of "self dealing," or benefitting himself or his family (daughter) by creating a situation where his daughter purchased the propert at (what we presume is) a reduced price. 
As a beneficiary, you could sue your older brother for his breach of fiduciary duty and potentially force him to personally you pay any amounts which you should have received from your parent's house (e.g. from its sale; that is, your portion of its value) but did not due to his breach. You cannot sue his daughter or get the house back, since she did not have a duty to you and since also she presumably purchased the home properly at the tax sale, in compliance with the law. Your recourse is against your brother, the executor. Consult with an attorney about suing your brother for his breach.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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