Being in charge of someone’s estate before the assets are handed over to the heirs of the deceased is a position of trust that no executor should abuse. They may be in charge of a lot of assets — including cash and investments. But what if the executor goes rogue and starts acting based on their own self-interest?
Whether they are related to you or not, the executor is acting in an official capacity of the probate process, and they owe you a fiduciary duty. It means that every decision regarding the estate should be made in good faith with the best interests of the estate and its heirs in mind.
Be involved in the process to prevent problems
In essence, the executor controls the estate, and the buck stops with them. In addition, since an executor practically knows everything about the estate, it can be easy to cover up their actions. For instance, they may offload a property from the estate at a lower market value, pay themselves unreasonably high fees for their efforts on behalf of the estate, or outrightly transfer assets from the estate to themselves.
Therefore, you need to be fully involved in the whole probate process and ensure the executor is acting well within their boundaries. You do not want estate assets to end up in the wrong hands, leaving you with less than you deserve. Ask for regular updates on the probate process and periodic accounting, if necessary.
Take action to remove a self-dealing executor
Probate is a court process, and if the executor is in breach of their fiduciary duty, they can be relieved of the role. Once you’ve established that the executor is not acting in the best interests of the estate or beneficiaries, you need to take legal action against them and protect what is yours.