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Warning signs an executor is mishandling the estate

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2024 | Probate Litigation |

Sometimes heirs to an estate take the executor to probate court. Ideally, probate would go as smoothly as possible so the beneficiaries can close out the estate of a deceased relative and process their grief. Unfortunately, sometimes executors engage in misconduct or mismanagement.

It is not always clear when an executor is failing to carry out fiduciary duties to beneficiaries. However, many instances of executor misconduct are recognizable.

Not communicating with beneficiaries

You should not be in the dark about what is going on with an estate after the executor takes control of it. An executor has a duty to communicate openly and honestly with beneficiaries. If your executor is unresponsive or secretive about estate matters, such behavior violates their obligations.

Beneficiaries also have the right to access relevant documentation regarding the assets, debts and transactions about the estate. If the executor refuses or neglects to provide necessary documents, such as account statements, invoices or receipts, it could signal potential wrongdoing.

Mismanagement of estate assets

You should feel confident the executor is properly maintaining the estate assets so they do not incur physical damage or loss of monetary value. A failure to keep up real estate could result in deterioration. Reckless investing of financial assets is another red flag, especially if they go against investment instructions in the will.

Perhaps the most troublesome sign is the outright disappearance of assets. Executors have a duty to safeguard and account for all estate property until distribution has begun. Unexplained disappearing assets may warrant further investigation and potential legal action.

The primary duty of an executor is to serve the interests of the beneficiaries. Anything that deviates from that responsibility is something to take seriously so you may engage in corrective action.