William J. Benz, Attorney at Law
Probate, Estates, Business and Real Estate
Of Counsel to Howland, Hess, Guinan, Torpey, Cassidy and O’Connell, LLP
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Is an executor perhaps not handling a loved one’s estate in good faith?

| Sep 2, 2020 | Probate And Estate Administration |

Estate planners across Pennsylvania obviously want to make everything seamless and optimal in the documents they prepare. Much is at stake concerning matters that can range widely from asset preservation, inheritances and lawful tax avoidance to guardianships, charitable giving and a host of other considerations.

Given the deep importance of such matters, it is logical that most planners give considerable thought to selection of an executor to manage an estate in the future. Following a plan creator’s passing, an executor has primary responsibility to ensure that a plan creator’s last wishes regarding key concerns are carried out.

What if he or she fails in that task?

Actually, individuals closely affected by an estate disposition – chiefly a grantor’s loved ones, heirs and beneficiaries – often grow concerned with an executor’s management. Disenchantment can extend to many alleged shortcomings and flawed outcomes, and be grounded in claims that an executor has acted negligently or even engaged in willful bad-faith behavior.

Indicators that an executor’s performance might be problematic and actually undermining rather than promoting a plan creator’s expressed goals can range from subtle to glaringly obvious. Here are some signs that things are not proceeding as planned:

  • No forward motion (little or nothing being done on tasks needing to be completed
  • Indications of commingling between the executor’s personal assets and estate property
  • Communications that are vague or that raise material concerns
  • Failure to create a bank account for the estate
  • Estate assets being disposed of at less than market value
  • Creditor contacts concerning unpaid debts

It can understandably be hard for family members and other loved ones to deal in a timely and responsive way with executor-linked issues. They can turn for help to a proven estate planning legal team having a deep well of experience in estate administration matters.