What are signs an executor has breached their fiduciary duty?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2020 | Probate and Estate Disputes

The executor of an estate has specific fiduciary responsibilities. It’s an Ohio personal representative’s legal obligation to act in the best interest of the deceased and carry out their instructions and wishes to the best of their abilities.

A fiduciary has two primary responsibilities. They are paying off any debts that the testator left behind and distributing any of their remaining assets to the heirs.

It’s also the fiduciary’s responsibility to open a checking account to manage the estate’s affairs. They’re also obligated to file the testator’s final tax return.

Executors must keep beneficiaries updated as to what’s happening with the estate.

There are instances in which personal representatives fail to pay off debts, engage in self-dealing or sell off assets for less than their fair market value. It’s in cases like these that the court may discharge the executor of the estate. A court may also order any personal representative that engages in impropriety to pay fees associated with their mismanagement of funds.

Fiduciaries who are attorneys are subject to a higher level of scrutiny when handling estates. Attorneys must follow codes of ethics and professional responsibility. They can face disciplinary action and possibly even disbarment if they violate their fiduciary duty to a client.

It’s a serious allegation for you to accuse an Ohio personal representative of violating their fiduciary duty. You can’t consider every executor’s misstep as a breach of their legal responsibilities, though.

You should present your concerns to an attorney if you suspect that the executor of your Cincinnati loved one’s estate hasn’t upheld their fiduciary duty in administering it. Your lawyer will analyze what has happened in your case thus far and advise you on what steps you should take moving forward.