When you choose an executor or appoint someone to handle your financial and personal affairs, you obviously want the best person for the job—someone who knows you and your family well and can successfully navigate any legal or personal trouble that may crop up. Most importantly, you want someone who has your best interests in mind and wants to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
At the Evans Law Firm, Inc., our Santa Clara County financial elder abuse attorneys have seen far too many cases where a trustee or executor has failed to uphold his or her end of the bargain by ignoring the wishes of the account or estate holder. Breach of fiduciary duty is a serious charge and can encompass any fraudulent activity or mismanagement. Anyone who has broken their agreement to act on another’s behalf should immediately be removed from their position to prevent further fraud or mishandling.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Trustees and executors have a responsibility to act with integrity and honesty, especially when handling someone else’s affairs. The job of an executor is to act in the estate’s interest above his or her own. Breach of fiduciary duty occurs whenever these responsibilities and jobs are not performed, and can involve any of the following:
- Failing to disclose assets – An executor or trustee may intentionally hide or fail to document assets and fail to inventory them as part of the estate’s worth. He may also fraudulently disburse funds to himself from these hidden assets before disclosing the assets to the other beneficiaries.
- Failing to complete accounting – Any fudging of financial figures, from starting amounts of inventory and appraisals to estate costs and the final account record of how funds and assets were disbursed constitutes fraudulent behavior.
- Failing to distribute assets accordingly – If a trustee does not properly distribute assets, he or she is likely stealing from the beneficiaries. This is a form of fraud, as is any instance where the trustee fails to distribute the assets according to the estate or account holder’s wishes or fails to obtain proof that assets were distributed properly.
- Failing to act in the beneficiaries’ best interests – Any instance where the executor does not evaluate the validity of debts before paying or fails to obtain the full market values of property and assets, has a conflict of interest, or uses poor judgment.
Any of these breaches should be grounds for removal from their duties, and our financial elder abuse attorneys can help.
To discuss the appointment of your executor or an executor or trustee whom you think is no longer acting solely on your behalf, or one who may be fraudulently handling an estate, contact one of the leading financial elder abuse lawyers in Santa Clara County and the surrounding area. The Evans Law Firm, Inc. has successfully helped clients remove unscrupulous or fraudulent persons who have been in breach of fiduciary duty. Call our office at 415.441.8669 or contact us online at www.evanslaw.com for a free, no-strings consultation today.