The executor has significant responsibilities when it comes to administering the estate. Simply stated, they must act in the interests of the estate, and they could be personally liable when they fail to uphold this duty.
The main area where an executor has fiduciary duties is in managing the estate’s assets. If they engage in self-dealing or do not use the right level of care, they could face a lawsuit. The executor is placed in a position of trust and power, but the price is that they are accountable if they don’t live up to the faith placed in them.
Here are some things that could be considered a breach of the fiduciary duty:
- Self-dealing when managing the assets of the estate
- Failing to file tax returns
- Not getting a fair and reasonable price when selling assets
- Paying too much money to creditors
The Executor Can Be Called to Account
Beneficiaries have the right to an accounting from the executor. Essentially, the executor will need to show the records and receipts that prove that they upheld their fiduciary duty. When in doubt, an executor is better off getting legal help if they have any questions. Otherwise, they could be in trouble themselves.
At the same time, if you are a beneficiary and believe that the executor has done something wrong, you have the right to ask questions. You should act to protect yourself. If not, you could find that the estate’s assets have dwindled, and you will receive less than you thought.
Liberty and Rolling Meadows Probate Attorneys
An executor needs to be prepared to live up to their legal responsibilities before they are appointed. Call the Rolling Meadows and Liberty probate lawyers at Charles T. Newland & Associates at 847.797.9300 or contact us online with any questions about wills or fiduciary duties.