Can an Estate Administrator Be Held Liable for Errors With an Estate?

Beneficiaries can be disappointed or dissatisfied with the way that they handle their funds, and this can cause complications in the estate planning process. Even professional fiduciaries like trust companies will receive complaints from beneficiaries on a regular basis. If you are a beneficiary who is frustrated with the way that your finances are being handled, then you can complain about this to the estate administrator.

Most of the time beneficiaries express concerns about the management of their estate if they are not kept up to date about the administration. All beneficiaries expect frequent communication. If you are being left in the dark regarding your money, then you have the right to complain about this. Also, it is important to consult with an attorney if you are working with an estate administrator who is constantly evasive or frustrating.

Estate managers can be held personally liable if their errors or mismanagement causes a serious mistake with a trust or estate. For example, if an estate administrator fails to pay taxes when they are due, or does not file returns on time, then this can be a serious issue. Also, if an estate administrator makes improper investment choices that lose the beneficiary significant amount of money, then the estate administrator may be held liable.

In these situations, the courts will want to know whether or not the administrator consulted the beneficiary before making the investment, and how much research the beneficiary did on the investment prior. Also, it is important for the beneficiary to explain whether or not he was told about the pitfalls or potential errors of an investment.

If the estate administrator acted on the beneficiary's behalf and caused the money loss to occur through poor strategy, then he or she may still be held liable. Also, if an estate administrator makes an investment that favors one beneficiary over another, then the cheated beneficiary has the right to seek compensation and hold the administrator liable.

The American Bar Association writes that administrators who buy assets for themselves for their family members from an estate or trust can also be held liable for this breach of duty. If an administrator also property insurance or casualty insurance to lapse, and this results in loss to the estate or trust, then the administrator may be held liable.

If your estate administrator is related to you in any way, he or she may make decisions that he or she would not make with a stranger. As an estate administrator, it is important to treat every decision with careful consideration and work with beneficiaries as if they were strangers. Estate administration is very important and poor choices can end up with costly consequences.

The American Bar Association recommends that all estate administrators treat all decisions with appropriate formalities and paper work. It is also important for administrators to constantly document their actions and decisions in order to prove what they have done and how they have acted. Making sure to document all conversations, investments, and financial actions will also clarify any "he said she said" arguments that may come up. If you want more information about estate administration, then an attorney can assist you.

Also, if you are a beneficiary who believes that your fortune was abused and you want to seek damages from your administrator, then you will want an attorney there to help you with the lawsuit. Estate administration can often be complicated, as most administrators are family members. This can mix emotional and personal issues along with the debates of the lawsuit, which is why you will want a professional to assist you.