practice areas

When a testator, or the person who is drafting a will, goes to select the executor of their estate, they’re often advised to pick someone who is both loyal and trustworthy. They’re told to do this to make sure that their final wishes have the best chance of being honored and also because there’s often significant wealth that they are entrusted to handle. Executors who have poorly handled their responsibilities have been sued.

Although a Lafayette testator can appoint a licensed California professional such as an attorney, financial planner or accountant to the role of executor, few do. Instead, they have a trusted friend or relative handle those responsibilities. The individual that they appoint to this role often hasn’t been trained as to what they’re supposed to do. They often make mistakes in distributing assets or reporting information to the probate court.

One reason that executors of estates often get sued is that they neglect to understand that their responsibility is to distribute assets in alignment with what’s outlined in the testator’s will. When an executor allows their own personal beliefs, thoughts or allegiances to determine who they distribute assets to instead of following the testator’s final wishes, they often get sued.

Each jurisdiction has existing laws that specify who can assume the role of the executor. In many cases, the individual appointed to this role can’t also be a beneficiary. If the person selected to be executor finds out that they’re also slated to receive the estate’s assets, then they may need to ask a judge to appoint someone else to serve as executor or otherwise risk being sued for impropriety by the other beneficiaries.

Executors of estates also often find themselves facing a lawsuit because they either fail to have assets assessed for their value or neglect to have it done as promptly as they should before its monetary worth decreases.

There are many instances in which executors have been sued for poorly handling an estate’s assets. If you know what your responsibilities are and have someone guiding you through your role, then you may avoid having a lawsuit filed against you. An attorney can provide you with the necessary information to minimize your legal exposure.