The rights and limitations of the executor.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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The rights and limitations of the executor.

Parents are dead and family trust was
given to the 2 sons. 1 son is the
executor as he tricked the other to
sign the resignation of co-successor
trustee document and the acceptance as
successor trustee document. Since the
mother died, the othet son is not
sharing any vital information about the
trust that includes the mineral rights.

Asked on April 29, 2017 under Estate Planning, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An executor (who administers a will) or  trustee (who administersa trust) is limited in terms of his power and discretion:
1) He must follow the plain terms of the will and/or trust, including distributing property as they indicate--he has no authority or right to not follow them.
2) He is also bound by "fiduciary duty," or the obligation imposed by law to act in the interest of the beneficiaries (not his own interest), and in the course of doing so, to act with reasonable care.
If you are a beneficiary (someone who would get money or property under a will or trust) and believe that an executor or trustee is violating either the terms of the instrument (e.g.will; trust document[s]) empowering him or acting disloyaly or carelessly (breaching his  fiduciary duty), you can bring a lawsuit in chancery court (a part or division of county court) seeking an "accounting": that is, to have the trustee or executor "account for" his actions. If he is found to have acted improperly, the court can order him to do some things or not do others, to repay money he took or diverted, and/or to replace him in the role.
Legally, you are allowed to represent yourself ("pro se") and bring the case yourself. But this kind of case is substantially more complex than, say, a small claims case: you are strongly encouraged to retain an attorney to help you.

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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