This is the next post in our series on the topic of executor or administrator misconduct in Hartford, Connecticut probate cases. Our last article discussed removing an estate’s fiduciary after they have been appointed. If you wish to challenge the personal representative then you must do so quickly as the longer you wait then the more likely it is that the estate’s assets will be wasted. Immediately retaining an attorney is the first step in making sure that your interests are protected. In this article, we will discuss options for dealing with an executor who has breached their fiduciary duty. If you require assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
It is best to reach an agreement with a Connecticut executor or administrator regarding their removal
It can be a natural tendency to desire that litigation be immediately filed when an executor or administrator has breached their duty in a probate. Quite often, however, an executor or administrator may agree to the removal once they learn that an heir has retained counsel. This is especially true in cases where the executor or administrator is simply “dragging their feet” and failing to complete tasks required by the probate process. If an agreement can be reached between all parties, then a new executor can be appointed and the prior personal representative can be relieved of their duties through agreement.
Consider the following example. Jack Executor is named the personal representative of an estate. Jack has a full-time job and greatly underestimated the amount of time which administering the estate will take. As time goes on, the process of completing the probate is becoming increasingly delayed as Jack simply is not devoting the required time to it. He has received angry calls from the heirs but has not relinquished his role as executor. The heirs then retain an attorney. Once Jack receives a call from counsel, he realizes that the matter is more serious than he previously appreciated. Jack may very well agree to step down as executor in order to avoid litigation. While this simple example is for illustrative purposes only, it does show how representatives may agree to step aside in order to avoid additional court proceedings.
Litigation may be necessary when an executor is acting in an unethical manner
There are also situations in which an executor or administrator is simply behaving in an unethical manner. These include engaging in self-dealing, theft from the estate, refusing to communicate with the heirs, and more. In situations such as these, it is possible that the executor or administrator may have to return funds to the estate. Litigation is often required in such cases. The first step in the process is to have the executor removed, as we discussed in our last article. If you believe that the personal representative is engaging in such breaches of their duty then it is important that you talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
Our Hartford probate lawyers have been serving the community for many years. We are proud of the level of service which we provide to our clients and we will make your case a priority. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We also service the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.