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What happens when an executor abuses their position?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | probate litigation |

The executor of an estate has to do a lot of time-consuming work. They have to show up for court hearings, communicate with creditors and maintain records of how they distribute the estate assets. Typically, the individuals who assume such positions need to be trustworthy and well-organized.

The executor handling the estate of your parent or another loved one is probably someone that your deceased family member trusted. Unfortunately, some people will respond to authority by abusing their newfound power. An executor might embezzle for an estate or allow their personal feelings about beneficiaries to affect how they manage and distribute resources.

What options do you have as a beneficiary who believes an executor has abused their authority?

You can take the matter to the probate courts

Executors in Tennessee have a duty to the beneficiaries of the estate. They should act in the best interests of those who will receive property from the estate. They can fulfill this obligation by complying with state probate law, following the testator’s written instructions and seeking to maximize the overall value of the estate. Careful protection of the assets within the estate and proper management are key to maximizing or at least maintaining the value of estate assets.

If the executor has taken property that didn’t belong to them, made decisions for their own profit or refused to distribute assets as they should, beneficiaries can take action. They have the option of challenging individual actions taken by an executor or of asking the Tennessee probate courts to remove the executor from their position.

People should speak up when they suspect misconduct

The probate courts may not notice subtle signs of misconduct if those affected by improper estate administration remain silent. Probate litigation can help resolve issues with an executor not performing their job properly.

Beneficiaries could initiate a lawsuit to prevent the sale of certain assets at an inappropriately low price. They could also ask the courts to remove the executor when they have documentation that they have abused their position of authority for personal benefit or mismanaged the estate’s resources. Removing an executor can mean that someone more willing to comply with state law will step up into that position.

Understanding and making use of your right as the beneficiary of an estate will be crucial if you hope to protect your inheritance through probate litigation.