Saturday, April 11, 2009

Legal Ethics: An Executors Mishandling of an Estate

Expert: Paul D. Friedman, M.A., Ph.D., J.D. - 10/13/2006

My sister is the executor of my fathers will,she is also one of two benificiaries. I am the other.
At the time of his death, he had two automobiles. She took possission of both cars and then immediately gave one to an in-law. The other she kept for fiduciary duties. She still has possession of the one car and it has been two years since the death. It is a depreciating assest for me,and now she wants to buy it at todays fair market value,instead of at the time of death, March 2005. It will me a loss to me as a benificiary. As executor and benificiary, isnt that a conflict of interest?
She stated in a letter,dated March 5, 2005 to the estate attorney , that she purchased the car for $. 5434.00 In reviewing the account ledger, as of a month ago,there is no money put in the estate account for this car. Isnt that fraud on her part as executor?



There is no conflict of interest to have the executor (executrix) as one of the beneificiaries. However, the executor (trix) owes a fiduciary duty to all beneficiaries and must account for all of the money. If she did not deposit that money into the account, it could be fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. I would strongly suggest consulting with your own probate attorney in your state.

Very truly yours,

Paul D. Friedman, M.A., Ph.D., J.D.

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