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Determined & Experienced
Estate Litigation Lawyer

What can beneficiaries do if they don’t trust an executor?

Taking on the administration of someone’s estate is a big responsibility. Executors of estates have many issues on their plates, and it may become complicated if they aren’t trusted by one or more beneficiaries. In addition, beneficiaries who have reason to question the actions of an executor may find themselves in a multitude of stressful and uncomfortable situations.

The role of an executor

Executors of estates are responsible for the following:

  • Making sure the estate is protected
  • Making sure the will is probated
  • Paying creditors prior to paying beneficiaries

There are certain fiduciary duties executors must follow and certain actions executors must avoid. The following guidelines for these can be critical to the process and to gaining the trust of all beneficiaries.

Things executors should do:

  • Treat all beneficiaries impartially and fairly
  • Put the interests of the beneficiaries first
  • Protect the assets of the estate
  • Keep well-documented financial records
  • Keep their own assets separate from those of the estate
  • Follow all instructions of the testator

Things executors should avoid:

  • Putting their own interest before those of the estate
  • Allowing someone else to take on the decision-making regarding the estate
  • Profiting from their position
  • Acting imprudently with estate investments
  • Purchasing estate assets without first having permission

Executors do not need to answer every single question beneficiaries have, but it is incumbent upon them to keep beneficiaries abreast of what is happening. In situations where this isn’t the case, or if any of the above executor responsibilities are being neglected, there are means of help and support readily available.

If serious trust issues develop at any point during the process, or if beneficiaries haven’t received their assets within a year or more of the testator’s death, they may wish to seek independent advice from an experienced lawyer.

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