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Karl was in a panic.
His sister, Sarah, was executor of their father’s estate.
“Sarah listed my parents’ home for sale. The asking price is way below what homes are selling for in the neighbourhood. I can't believe what she is doing.
“She told me to go to the house on Saturday. I was to take the things I wanted from the house. When I got there, all the valuables were gone. She left only the junk she did not want.
I was so disappointed with my sister that I didn't take a thing. Sarah left me a message on my machine to remove the items; otherwise, the buyer would hold me responsible for the cost of removing them.”
Karl saw his lawyer, who said, “Well, Sarah is the sole executor. She gets to make all the management decisions about the estate. Unfortunately you have very few remedies.”
Your Legal Remedies
When you are faced with a bad executor, you can try to:
- invalidate any deal
- deny them their fees
- remove them as executor
- recover damages
- hold them responsible for any losses
- have them pay your legal costs
By the time you get to court, the buyers would have moved into the house. How can you prove what valuables were in the house, and if Sarah sold them undervalued?
I'm afraid you are out of luck. The remedies available to you do not offer you much assistance. It's difficult to remove an executor for misconduct unless you can demonstrate serious mishandling, dishonesty or breach of duty.
Beneficiaries should not sit back and wait until the estate is finished. You are not helpless since you can:
- make executors pay for their mistakes out of their own pocket
- repay the estate for loss of value
- reduce or deny the executors compensation on a court audit
Are You An Executor?
Want to learn more about protecting yourself?
• Register for my January 26, 2011 workshop here and find out what you will learn.