What to do about an executor’s mishandling of an estate?

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What to do about an executor’s mishandling of an estate?

I am a friend of a young man who I think is being misrepresented by the Executor of his father’s Will. I knew his father. What rights does this kid really have with an Executor who is doing him wrong? Can the kid get a breakdown on what is being paid for? Does he have to go to a judge?

Asked on February 13, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

From what you imply, there may well be a breach of "fiduciary duty" by this executor.  By way of background, such a duty is implied when someone is put in a position of trust to benefit other, such as that between an executor and beneficiary.  Consequently a fiduciary must at all times exercise good faith; they must put the interests of the beneficiaries and/or estate above their own.  Additionally, an executor must follow the law as it pertains to the distribution and handling of estate assets.  If a fiduciary fails to perform their duties gives, that will give rise to a claim.   

There may well be either fraud, negligence, or similar misconduct at play.  Accordingly, this young gman should contact the probate court in question and/or directly consult with a probate attorney on all of this.  He can challenge the executor in their fiduciary role and have them removed for breach of their duty.  Additionally, he will then need to have someone else appointed who can challenge any transactions/transfers that may have been made which were not in the best interests of the estate and get the money refunded. He will also need to request an accounting of the estate.  If the executor is bonded (insured) he may also be able to go after insurance money to recoup losses, if any. Again, a probate lawyer can best guide him in all of this.


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