Angela C. Artherton

Caring and Client-Focused Advocacy

How can executors self-deal during probate?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Probate Litigation

Probate, the legal process of administering a dead person’s estate, relies on executors to give away assets according to this dead individual’s wishes.

However, in some cases, these executors may engage in self-dealing. There are several common ways that executors commit this injustice.

Buying assets for less

Sometimes, executors use their power to save money. For example, they may assign a low price to a dead person’s assets and purchase valuable items or land from the estate for less money than they are truly worth.

These pieces of artwork or real estate end up being far cheaper than any price on the market. This action prevents the beneficiaries from having a fair chance to inherit or obtain these items themselves.

Using estate money for personal items

Another way executors self-deal is by using estate money for their own personal expenses. This could be things like paying off their credit cards, going on trips or paying their mortgage. This takes money away from the rightful beneficiaries.

Picking favorites among beneficiaries

Executors might play favorites with some beneficiaries over others. They could give more items or assets to one person and less to another, or not share all parts of important information about the estate. This can cause serious fights between beneficiaries, which is an issue executors should prevent.

Self-dealing executors during probate can cause people to lose trust in the probate process and may even lead to litigation from beneficiaries. Executors need to fulfill their fiduciary duty with integrity to make sure the entire process is fair for everyone involved.