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Can you sue an executor for stealing from the estate?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Estate Planning |

When a loved one dies, their estate is usually managed by an executor appointed in the deceased’s will. The executor’s role is to distribute the estate assets according to the deceased’s wishes and in compliance with state law.

However, suppose the executor is found to have stolen from the estate. In that case, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against them for breaking their legal obligation to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

Understanding the role of an executor

Before diving into the legal process, it’s important to understand the role of an executor. An executor is responsible for identifying and securing all assets, paying off any debts or outstanding taxes and distributing property to beneficiaries according to the will. In essence, they have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the estate’s and its beneficiaries’ best interests.

Identifying signs of executor theft

If you suspect an executor is stealing from an estate, there are a few signs to look out for. One red flag is if the executor hesitates to provide information or documentation about the estate’s assets or financial transactions.

Additionally, if the executor lives beyond their means or makes large, unexplained purchases, this could be a sign of theft. Finally, if beneficiaries are not receiving their rightful inheritance, this is also cause for suspicion.

Suing an executor for stealing from the estate should not be taken lightly. So, if you believe that the executor has acted improperly, it is important to approach the case from an informed perspective to increase your chances of winning.