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Can a beneficiary sue you for mismanaging an estate?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2023 | Estate Administration |

When you agree to act as someone’s personal representative in Florida, you commit to handling certain matters on that individual’s behalf. There are many different obligations involved in acting as someone’s personal representative. If you skip any of these steps, whether intentionally or otherwise, you may find yourself in trouble.

Per Yahoo Finance, in some cases, a beneficiary may be able to file a lawsuit against you for mismanaging an estate. While there are many circumstances under which a beneficiary may be able to do so, you may find yourself facing a lawsuit from a beneficiary if you make any of the following missteps.

Mismanaging estate assets for personal gain

A common reason many personal representatives face lawsuits is that beneficiaries believe they misused or misappropriated the decedent’s assets for their own gain. As a personal representative, you have an ethical duty to follow the decedent’s wishes and instructions to the fullest extent possible.

Having a conflict of interest

You may not serve as someone’s personal representative if you are also one of that party’s beneficiaries. This creates a conflict of interest, and a beneficiary may argue that this conflict of interest clouded your judgment or hindered your ability to distribute assets fairly.

Delaying the distribution of assets

As a personal representative, you also have a duty to manage and close the estate within a reasonable timeline. Causing delays without due cause is an easy way to raise ire among beneficiaries and raise the chances of them filing a lawsuit against you.

While these are some of the more common reasons personal representatives face lawsuits, this is not a complete summary of all errors that may make you liable.