An estate executor must perform many tasks when administering the decedent’s estate. Most people work hard performing their duties and ultimately do an adequate job.
Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out to take control of an estate and manage it prudently. Mistakes can happen, many of them minor. However, litigation could be the answer when errors are habitual, unlawful or cause considerable harm.
1. Interfering with inheritances
Your late family member probably left detailed instructions in their will and other documents regarding the distribution of their assets. When executors fail to follow these written directions, affected heirs and beneficiaries may need to consider litigation.
2. Using assets for personal reasons
Executors are not allowed to dip into the estate’s assets to purchase anything for themselves. They may not use estate funds to pay their bills or help out a loved one, either. Beneficiaries may find relief for such blatant misconduct through a lawsuit.
3. Poorly managing investments
Along with paying off estate debts and distributing assets, executors must often manage the wealth left behind. That may mean making investments with funds from the estate. When these investments are improper or overly risky, heirs and beneficiaries may have cause to seek a legal remedy.
What are the possible remedies?
A Washington court may remove the estate executor and fill the void with someone better suited to the role. Sometimes, courts order executors to pay restitution to heirs harmed by their misconduct. In severe breaches of duty, courts may order the executor to pay punitive damages.
Litigation might not be the only way to resolve the matter. Take your tale of executor misconduct or inadequacy to a legal representative. Often, this can guide you in how best to remedy the problem and preserve your and your family’s best interests.