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Suing the executor of an estate

On Behalf of | Aug 8, 2023 | Firm News

Many vital responsibilities fall upon the shoulders of the executor of an estate. Estate planners should choose the most responsible and thorough person for the job. When someone’s incompetence or negligence undermines the probate process in Texas, the beneficiaries may take legal action. Suing the executor could be a path aggrieved beneficiaries may choose to take.

Suing the executor

The beneficiaries could sue the executor when the person breaches their fiduciary duty. Executors have obligations to distribute assets, file tax returns and pay debts on time. Executors who falter may face legal challenges from beneficiaries who are hurt by their incompetence or malice. Matters related to illegal activities, conflicts of interest or self-dealing may lead to lawsuits too.

Creditors might also have legal claims against an executor. Since the probate process also involves settling the estate’s debts, creditors have a reasonable expectation of receiving payments without delays. Unless the estate is bankrupt, the executor should pay debts promptly. Creditors dealing with an unethical or negligent executor may sue to obtain what is owed.

Resolving the matter

Probate litigation concerning issues with an executor may involve suing the person, which could result in the court removing and replacing them. A court could find the executor personally liable, leading to the beneficiaries receiving compensation. Thus, executors who fail to perform their duties responsibly might suffer financial consequences.

Executors who commit illegal actions or perjure themselves might face criminal charges. Again, estate planners may benefit from choosing an executor wisely. Otherwise, the probate process could spiral into criminal and civil legal woes. Such scenarios could negatively affect innocent beneficiaries and creditors. Estate planners might wish to revisit their wills and remove an executor who may be a bad choice.