How an Executor of “The Will” Might Be Breaching His/Her Fiduciary Duty
The executor of a Texas will is the person chosen by the deceased to administrate the provisions of the will of his/her estate. The executor must be at least eighteen years old and have no prior felony convictions. Executors are usually family members, accountants, or lawyers. The duties of the executor start at the time of death and finish when the last state and federal taxes, if any, are paid. And the estate is closed or otherwise fully disposed of. Executor responsibilities include accounting of assets in the estate, payment of estate liens and debts, and final distribution of assets to the beneficiaries.
An executor has legal fiduciary responsibilities and must act with utmost honesty, impartiality, and scrupulousness on behalf of the deceased and the estate’s beneficiaries. Rational decisions must be made; and the executor must overcome emotion caused by loss and adhere to the terms of the will.
But what if the Executor decides to put his/her own interests ahead of the estate’s beneficiaries or neglects to carry out his/her responsibilities. Has the Executor of the will breached their fiduciary duty? Some serious examples of an executor’s breach of fiduciary duty include:
- Mismanaging estate assets
- Misappropriating estate assets
- Hiding estate assets
- Failing to notify beneficiaries of their interests
- Using estate assets for the executor’s own benefit
- Unnecessarily delaying distributions to beneficiaries
- Paying themselves large and exorbitant, unearned fees
- Selling estate assets for an inappropriate price
- Ignoring important probate deadlines
- Failing to collect money owed to the estate
If an executor has breached his/her fiduciary duty in an estate where you are a beneficiary, this is a very serious issue that needs immediate attention. If you, as a beneficiary, feel that your interest in an estate is being compromised by your current executor, you should contact a Professional Probate Litigation Attorney immediately for help or the estate could experience serious consequences that will not only cause horrible problems between family and friends but also financial issues in the estate from possible fraud, theft of cash/property, or total disregard of all legal fiduciary responsibilities and duties.
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