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What happens when it's believed an executor is dishonest?

Most people go to great lengths to choose an executor they believe they can trust. When British Columbia residents draft their wills choosing an executor who is honest, reliable, astute and has some knowledge of finances is likely a top priority. But even when a testator chooses someone he or she believes can do the job appropriately, it may be that not every beneficiary might agree with the decision for whatever reasons.

In instances when one or more beneficiaries believe the executor of a will to be less than forthright, there are things that can be done, but only if there is some basis in fact. It may be that an executor may not be aware of the estate administration process and lacks the skills he or she needs. On the other hand, if an executor is acting criminally, that is another story.

There are essentially three "P's" in the estate administration process: Protect, probate and pay. An executor must protect the estate, probate the will and pay beneficiaries and creditors. It is incumbent upon the fiduciary to keep beneficiaries advised of the status of the estate, although the executor doesn't have to answer specific questions posed. If beneficiaries have any evidence an executor is acting dishonestly, they should speak to a lawyer regarding breach of trust issues.

When wills and other estate plans are being administered, it can be a complex and confusing process. When there is evidence an executor may be acting inappropriately, a British Columbia lawyer may be able to offer guidance and advice. He or she can also help an executor by providing accurate legal details about the estate administration process.   

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