How to handle an executor who breaches his or her duties

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2016 | Blog

Often when a loved one dies, family members squabble over the details of the will. In some cases, the person who has been named the executor may cause contention. Nevada residents might be interested in reading about the responsibilities of an executor, and how to deal with one who is uncooperative.

While an executor of a will has authority to make decisions about the decedent’s estate, that person is obligated by the laws of the testator’s home state to fulfill his or her wishes. This responsibility, known as fiduciary duty, must reflect the interests of all parties involved.

Before distributing the assets to the beneficiaries named in the will, the executor is responsible to take inventory of the assets, make any note of any alterations that affect the assets such as sales, expenses, taxes and cash flow, and then assign a value to those assets. In instances where a person did not leave a will, his or her assets would be equally divided among the next of kin.

Executors who try to withhold the assets from the rightful heirs by refusing to act in accordance with their fiduciary duties could be held legally liable. If they do not cooperate with the beneficiaries named in the will, those beneficiaries have a right to judicially enforce executor compliance with these duties.

A last will and testament that is done according to the law commonly helps to reduce friction and relieves burdens among family members and heirs. However, because troubles can still arise after a loved one passes, such as when an executor fails to comply with the testator’s wishes, the beneficiaries might want to seek legal advice from an estate planning attorney.