It is important for people in San Diego to execute wills. Wills allow people to direct who will receive their property after they pass away. This is not something people like to think about, but death is inevitable and people cannot bring their possessions with them. The portions of the will stating who will receive the property may be the most important parts of wills, but simply stating one’s wishes in a will does not get the property into the possession of the beneficiaries.
The person who has the responsibility of actually distributing the property to the named beneficiaries in the will is known as the personal representative. Personal representatives have a very important job. They have a duty to the estate to ensure that it is administrated properly and in the best interests of the estate. There are a number of ways that personal representatives can breach this duty to the estate though and the beneficiaries of the will may be able to hold them accountable though probate litigation.
Examples of how personal representatives breach their duty
Some of the ways that personal representatives breach their duty to the estate are:
- Improperly managing the assets of the estate
- Not collecting all money and property owed to the estate
- Overpaying creditors or distributing assets before all creditors are paid
- Selling assets of the estate that should not be sold or they do not have the authority to sell
- Not filing tax returns on time or incorrectly
- Distributing assets to the wrong beneficiaries
When personal representatives in California make the mistakes stated above, it can be costly for the estate. These costs eventually are passed on to the beneficiaries who will ultimately receive less than they should receive. The beneficiaries can hold the personal representative for these damages and be compensated for their losses. Proving the personal representative breached their duty to the estate can be complicated though. Experienced attorneys understand these complicated matters and may be able to guide people through the probate process.