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What are the Duties of a Personal Representative or Executor?

Fiduciary Duties of an Executor

An executor plays an important role in the management of an Indiana estate. It is extremely important for anyone who has been named in this role or for a person who is thinking of establishing a personal representative or an executor to understand the fiduciary responsibilities. Executors have a legal and fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of an estate. In the event that they act in violation of any of these legal requirements, the executor could be held responsible in legal action.

The task at hand can seem overwhelming or daunting if you have recently been named as an Indiana executor. There may be stress and anxiety in approaching the unknown or in knowing your specific responsibilities. You must be appointed by Indiana probate court to be formally recognized as the estate's executor. The appropriate court, therefore, must receive paperwork such as the last will and testament and a petition for probate.

At this point in time the court will review this information and appoint you as the will's executor and provide you with letters of probate that gives you the legal responsibility and authority to manage estate assets and debts. The fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the estate requires a few things from you as you serve in your capacity as an executor.

What Are an Executor's Legal Responsibilities?

First of all, you have to perform all of your duties as executor and in an honest manner and exercise good faith throughout. You must keep beneficiaries informed about your status, notify creditors of the status of the estate, and satisfy any other requirement that the court might deem necessary, in addition to transparently managing the closure of the estate. One of the more important duties is preparing an accounting of all assets and expenses. Furthermore, it is expected that you will not take any specific actions that enriches you directly, including taking or selling any of the assets inside the estate for your own personal benefit.

The court could be required to take action if you violate the fiduciary duty of your role as an executor. You could be removed from the executor position if it can be shown that you failed to perform any of these duties properly and when beneficiaries request more transparency, it is possible that they might seek your removal. It is very important that you remain in contact with the beneficiaries and the court throughout serving in this role as an estate executor.       

If you are a person who is a current party to an estate and you believe that the executor has violated the legal requirements of serving in that role, you could be eligible to pursue legal action against the responsible party. Knowing when you have standing and how to proceed is important if you find yourself in this situation.

The right lawyer in Indiana can help you to determine what to do next and to counsel you through the process of figuring out what's most appropriate for your family when it comes to violation of fiduciary duty claims. You deserve to have your rights protected as a beneficiary to an estate.

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