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Examples of executor breaches of duties

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2024 | probate litigation |

An executor has a key role in the estate planning process. This individual is tasked with managing assets and administering the estate according to instructions in the will and other estate planning documents. 

An executor has what is commonly referred to as a fiduciary duty. This means that they must act in the best interests of the estate and beneficiaries. Breaches of this fiduciary duty are very serious, and they may look like some of the following examples. 


An essential component of fiduciary duties is that the fiduciary must not self-profit. While professional executors can receive a fee for their services, they cannot misuse assets in the estate to profit further. For example, an executor cannot take ownership of a property in the estate. The executor must also pay all tax obligations and report financial accounts accurately. In short, anything that results in the executor profiting from the estate could be unlawful. 

Showing favoritism 

An executor must also be impartial. All beneficiaries must be treated even-handedly. If the executor shows favoritism toward one beneficiary to the detriment of the other, then this is most likely unlawful. 


An executor must also exercise care to administer the estate properly. Debts, taxes and other financial obligations should be settled accordingly, and then the executor can move on  to distributing assets according to the wishes of the testator. If an executor goes against the wishes of the testator, then this is maladministration.  

Estate planning laws can be complicated. That’s why it’s so important to have legal guidance behind you at every stage of the process.