Is it possible to sue an executor?

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2022 | Blog, Probate And Estate Administration |

Generally speaking, executors do not hold liability for any debts of an estate. If this were the case, nobody would be willing to take on an executor’s role.

However, even though in most cases it is very difficult to sue an executor, it is possible. In the event that an executor is extremely careless or dishonest, it is possible to sue for their actions. According to FindLaw, it is possible to sue an executor in order to recover debts against the estate, or for breach of fiduciary duty.

Debts against the estate

While an executor does not take on liability for an estate’s debts, the executor still needs to make sure that the estate pays those debts to the best of the estate’s ability. In the event that there are debts against the estate and the estate has enough assets to pay those debts, an executor has a legal responsibility to do so. Failure to do this may result in creditors suing the executor.

Fiduciary duty

“Fiduciary duty” refers to an executor’s obligations to execute duties in good faith and honesty. If the executor does not do this, then other beneficiaries may be able to sue the executor.

For instance, if an executor buys something for him or herself out of estate assets, this is a breach of fiduciary duty. Losing assets or committing embezzlement are also grounds for a lawsuit.

In general, so long as an executor acts in good faith and follows the law when managing an estate, it is not possible to sue them directly. However, in certain instances, it may be possible, particularly if the executor is acting in bad faith.