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How to deal with a dishonest executor

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Usually, part of the duties of an executor involves safeguarding the assets and property of the deceased. But what if they turn rogue and start stealing from the estate? As a beneficiary, you are likely to be affected by their actions, especially if a significant portion of the estate ends up in the wrong hands.

The executor owes you a fiduciary duty, and they should always act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries.

Possible violations by the executor

The executor may act fraudulently by transferring assets to themselves or selling them below market value to benefit themselves. Additionally, they could pay themselves hefty fees for their services to the estate or fail to disclose the existence of some assets to keep them.

What can you do about it?

As a beneficiary, you need to be involved in the probate process, and it is vital to do due diligence. Keep up with the paper trail of your loved one’s assets along the whole process. If you notice something amiss, you need to bring it to the attention of the probate court. Remember that baseless claims could be mistaken for attempts to delay the probate process, a common tactic used by disgruntled beneficiaries.

If ascertained to have breached their fiduciary duty, the executor could be replaced and ordered to pay for what they have unlawfully taken from the estate. In some instances, they could be charged in a criminal court for stealing.

You need to act fast

The sooner you act, the better. You may not be able to recover all that you have lost if you wait for long before taking action. Additionally, you need to watch out for the legal deadlines that may apply to your case if you intend to file a lawsuit against the executor.

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