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Is it possible to sue an executor?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2022 | estate planning | 0 comments

Any estate that has a will has an executor. The executor is the person that is in control of representing the estate while it goes through probate. Typically, the writer of the will nominates an executor at the time of writing.

The executor makes sure that any taxes and creditors that need payment from the estate receive said monies; an executor also divides remaining property among the beneficiaries according to what the deceased stipulated in the will. If the executor does not uphold their duties it is possible to sue them.

When is it possible?

The most common kind of lawsuit against an executor is due to not paying creditors. The executor must pay all legitimate creditors before disseminating the estate, and if they do not do this it can result in lawsuits. However, the creditor may only sue for the amount they are rightfully owed, not for additional compensation.

Beneficiaries may sue an executor if the executor fails in “fiduciary duty.” Basically, if the executor does not manage the estate responsibly or uses their position to benefit themselves at cost to the beneficiaries, the beneficiaries may bring a lawsuit against the executor.

Is suing an executor common?

No. If it were common to sue an executor, nobody would want to take the position in the first place. It is extremely rare: in the event of will contests, the plaintiff is not directly suing an executor.

It is paramount that the executor of an estate understands their duties and acts in good faith. Otherwise, it is possible for a harmed third party to sue.