The purpose of a will is quite simple: a legal document recording what should be done with property, assets and personal belongings in the case of death. However, the actual process of executing a will is actually quite involved, requiring an assigned executor to complete it. However, this process can become even more complex in the case you can’t trust the will executor. In this instance, what can you do to protect your family?
First and foremost, trust your parents’ decision in choosing that executor until there are reasons not to such as clearly not acting in the best interest of the family. Executors are fiduciaries meaning there are clear duties of the executor which differ from other family members. For example, the executor must protect estate assets, keep these assets separate from their own assets and be impartial in treating all beneficiaries fairly. What an executor should never do is enforce their own personal decision-making responsibilities, design to make a profit from their position or put their own interests ahead of the estate’s.
If you have reason to believe that the executor is not performing these duties, then you may need to act to protect you, your siblings and other family members as well as your parents’ estate. Thankfully, you do have some options.
Executors are required to act honestly in all essential duties which can be summed up into three things:
- Protecting the estate– making sure all property is identified and secured.
- Conducting the probate process– including selling assets and obtaining tax clearance.
- Starting to pay off debt– between creditors and beneficiaries while maintaining clear financial records.
However, trusting the executor of a will to complete these tasks appropriately can be tricky if you have reason to doubt that person’s capabilities such as previous money mismanagement. If you do think the estate is not being protected or that there is a conflict of interest, be strategic in how you go about addressing your concerns. Though you may have to hire your own lawyer, getting professional estate legal advice can be the best solution in investigating a possible breach of trust.
If you are seeking legal help in holding your family’s executor accountable, consult with the experts in estate law here at Jeffrey M. Verdon Law Group. If the executor of your family will has been lying, falsifying or hiding critical information which compromises your family estate’s best interests, you should pursue an executor misconduct case before California’s statute of limitations runs out. Our knowledgeable probate attorneys are here to guide you through this process in filing a civil lawsuit to remove the executor legally and recover your estate. You needn’t let you and your family suffer at the hands of a dishonest executor, contact Jeffrey M. Verdon Law Group today!