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Fiduciary duties and estate litigation

| Feb 18, 2021 | Estate Litigation |

Whether you are battling negative emotions because the executor of your loved one’s estate failed to respect your rights as a beneficiary or you face allegations of wrongdoing as someone in charge of an estate, it is very important to take a careful look at your options and relevant legal topics. For example, those in charge of estates must abide by their fiduciary duties and respect the wishes of the decedent without placing their personal interests first. 

Sometimes, fiduciaries do not have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, which highlights the importance of focusing on this facet of the estate administration process. 

A brief look at fiduciary duties

The New York State Unified Court System states that executors and administrators of estates have a legal responsibility to faithfully serve the estate and abide by their fiduciary duties. For example, fiduciary duties include gathering and appraising an estate’s assets, transferring property in accordance with the will (or state law, if there is no will) and taking care of various financial obligations such as paying creditors, taxes and bills. 

When the breach of fiduciary duties leads to a dispute

Fiduciaries need to protect the property of the estate until they complete the payment of taxes and bills, as well as the distribution of the estate’s assets. When a fiduciary fails to take care of these responsibilities, disputes sometimes surface. Estate litigation often results in serious financial and emotional hurdles that impact entire families. However, if one breaches their fiduciary duties, or if false allegations of the breach of fiduciary duties comes up, these issues require careful examination.