When a loved one passes away, you hope that the person named as executor in the will is trustworthy and honest. But what can you do if they are not?
If you suspect that the executor of your loved one’s will is acting dishonestly, there are actions you can take.
What is a fiduciary?
A fiduciary is a person, such as an executor, who acts on behalf of another person, such as a deceased loved one. Fiduciaries must put the interests of the decedent or the estate ahead of their own. Being a fiduciary binds the executor, both legally and ethically, to act in the decedent’s best interests.
New York law defines this responsibility as a prudent person’s standard of care. This standard is a legal guideline for ethical behavior that every fiduciary must adhere to, including an estate executor.
What is a breach of fiduciary duty?
If a fiduciary does not follow the legal and ethical standards set for them by law, they are in breach of fiduciary duty. Breach of duty can take many forms; some are apparent, but others may require a detailed examination of accounts and transactions.
Is there a remedy for a breach of fiduciary duty?
The most common remedy is to ask the Court to revoke their appointment and remove them from the role of executor.
If you suspect that a loved one’s executor is acting dishonestly, stealing from the estate, or breaching their fiduciary responsibility in any way, you have the legal right to have them removed from the position.