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What happens if an estate executor breaches their fiduciary duty?

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2023 | Probate Litigation

The probate process involves various procedures in properly distributing the estate to its rightful beneficiaries. The court appoints an estate executor to help move along the process.

It is an essential role that helps divide the estate considering the value of the deceased’s belongings, no matter how obscure. Sometimes, the court could appoint an unfit person for the job. When this happens, the family members could challenge the executor so that the court can replace them.

However, what happens if the appointed executor fails to fulfill their fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries? If this happens, the court could enforce various measures, including:

  • Ordering them to perform their duties
  • Trace and recover losses caused by the executor’s breach of duties
  • Asking them to restore losses due to their mistakes by making monetary payments or other ways
  • Suspend or remove the executor
  • Appoint a new executor
  • Reduce their inheritance or compensation if entitled to it

The responsibilities of an estate executor are vital to the probate process, necessitating the court’s involvement if there are any unfulfilled estate executor duties.

Other mistakes an estate executor can make

Aside from breaching fiduciary duty, an executor can make other mistakes showing they are unfit for the role. Sometimes, they might prioritize their interests while sorting out the estate plan. They could go way off course that they defy the instructions ordered by the court or testator.

Additionally, an executor might fail to meet deadlines as expected. Still, estate matters must follow specific timelines. If the executor misses deadlines, it might result in grave consequences.

Fortunately, family members or beneficiaries could raise concerns regarding the executor’s ability to oversee the estate before it suffers mismanagement issues.