Your loved one probably spent a lot of time thinking through their estate plan. Now that he or she is gone, it’s the estate administrator and/or trustee’s job to ensure that the wishes that are spelled out in that plan are brought to realization. That might sound simple enough, but the truth of the matter is that those who hold a fiduciary duty, like estate administrators and trustees, often stray from their role and cause harm to beneficiaries.
Signs that the fiduciary duty has been breached
If you suspect that your loved one’s estate is being mishandled, then you may want to be on the lookout for red flags that require additional investigation. Here are some of those signs of a breached fiduciary duty:
- Some of the estate’s assets have gone missing without justification or with suspicious justification.
- The estate’s assets have been commingled with those of the administrator or trustee, thereby rendering it difficult or impossible to determine which assets belong to the estate.
- Bad accounting practices that make it hard to decipher where estate assets are going.
- Incomplete records that leave an incomplete or inaccurate picture of the current state of the estate’s assets.
- The fiduciary shows favoritism towards certain beneficiaries or creditors, which could be contrary to the terms of the estate plan.
Hold fiduciaries accountable while protecting your loved one’s wishes
Fiduciaries carry a big responsibility, but it’s one that they should be prepared to navigate. When they run afoul of the law, they need to be held accountable, especially if their missteps have been harmful to you. So, if you suspect that a breach of the fiduciary duty has occurred, then you should thoroughly investigate the matter and consider discussing your circumstances with an attorney who is well-versed in probate law.