Are executors personally liable for their work on a San Diego estate? Most people are honored to be asked to serve as an executor for a friend or family member’s will. It seems like a position of extreme trust and personal obligation. Most executors do not understand it also involves extensive personal legal and financial liability.
The short answer is “yes” beneficiaries can hold executors personally liable for their work on a San Diego estate. You are basically charged with carrying out the intentions and instructions of the decedent. In almost every case, the will or probate representative authorizes the funds necessary for you to obtain your own attorney to represent you, guide you through the process and protect you from foreseeable liability.
The executor takes charge of the will and opens a case in the probate court. You are responsible for marshalling the assets governed by the will, organizing all account information and balances, and preparing assets for disposition. The executor is responsible for working through the probate court to liquidate assets as directed, retire all debts, file all associated tax returns pay appropriate taxes, and ultimately distribute any remaining assets to the heirs and beneficiaries based upon the instructions contained within the will.
The executor works with the probate court and requires the permission of the court and its representatives in order to take any action.
If you, as the executor, are found to have delayed in your duties or taken actions that cost the heirs and beneficiaries money you can and will be held personally and financially liable. This is also true for “sweetheart deals” or transactions that a normal person would not be able to achieve. For example, if you sell the decedents house to one of their children for an amount below appraised and market value, the other siblings and heirs can file a lawsuit against you personally and hold you financially responsible for the difference.
Beneficiaries can hold executors personally liable for all of the work they do in their capacity for the estate. If you have become an executor we invite you to contact Allen Barron or call today to schedule a free consultation at 866-631-3470 and learn about the services available through our estate planning and tax attorneys to support your efforts, protect you and guide you through the complex steps in front of you.