Protecting Estates.
Protecting Legacies.

Does serving as someone’s executor put you at risk of a lawsuit?

You may have mixed feelings when someone you are close with names you the executor over his or her California estate. On the one hand, the appointment means this person has a good deal of trust in you. On the other hand, it also means you need to take responsibility for any number of different efforts involved in managing and ultimately settling that individual’s estate.

Per the Seattle Times, serving as someone’s executor requires a high degree of time and attention. It may also put you at risk of a lawsuit if conflicts arise between beneficiaries, or if beneficiaries believe you are shirking your duties in some way. When you serve as someone’s executor, you risk facing lawsuits related to the following areas, among others.

Missing assets

It is typically the duty of the executor to secure the decedent’s property and home. If you do not do this and one of the decedent’s children or beneficiaries enters the home and takes property, other beneficiaries may attempt to hold you liable for the losses.

Bad judgment calls

You may also have to make significant decisions in your executor role. If you fail to exercise sound judgment and one or more beneficiaries suffer a loss as a result, that party may try to hold you responsible.

Breach of fiduciary duties

Executors also have to take action within a particular timeframe and notify appropriate parties about the decedent’s death. Failing to take care of these obligations may also lead to additional legal trouble.

If someone you know wants to name you his or her executor, consider asking whether that person expects there to be any family conflicts or related issues before agreeing to serve in this capacity.

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