Handling breach of fiduciary duty allegations

If you are the administrator or executor of an estate, you may have all sorts of responsibilities, challenges and concerns, such as ensuring that assets are correctly distributed to beneficiaries. However, if you are facing accusations related to breach of your fiduciary duties, you could find yourself in court and may face harsh consequences. At Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C., we know firsthand how troubling these allegations can be for executors in Jamaica, and other parts of New York.

If beneficiaries are blaming you for neglecting to abide by your responsibilities, it is essential for you to be prepared. For example, you should be able to provide records of all of the estate’s items that you were obligated to manage. Unfortunately, navigating the legal system when it comes to estate matters can be complicated and the repercussions can turn your life upside down. Because of the serious and stressful nature of these disputes, it is wise to do whatever you can to make sure that beneficiaries do not accuse you of this offense. Regrettably, you may find yourself facing these allegations even if you have done nothing wrong. After all, emotions often run high when it comes to estate issues.

Although you may be unsure of how to move forward, taking a close look at the details of your circumstances and comprehensively preparing for court is paramount. If you head over to our page on the obligations of executors and fiduciaries, you can review additional information concerning breach of fiduciary duty  accusations.

Taking a look at undue influence

Whether an executor fails to carry out their duties or beneficiaries suspect fraud, there are many reasons why people choose to contest a will. However, it is especially important to develop an understanding of undue influence and how people are manipulated when creating a will. In Jamaica, and cities throughout the entire state of New York, families who suspect that a loved one was under coercion at the time they signed the will should examine all of their options.

When it comes to allegations of undue influence, there are many factors to consider. Unfortunately, someone who is manipulated may make decisions that they do not fully understand or without their free will. According to information published by the Duke Law Scholarship Repository, some people fall victim to undue influence  when signing a will because of their deteriorated mental state or older age.

However, there are a number of other reasons why people are vulnerable with regard to undue influence. The Judicial Branch of California outlines some of these causes, which include drug and alcohol intoxication, physical injuries and insufficient sleep. Moreover, people who experience undue influence when making a will  may have depression, grief, fear or anxiety, which could contribute to their vulnerability.

If a beneficiary believes that his or her loved one was subjected to undue influence when signing a will, they should carefully assess the details of their circumstances. Contesting a will may seem complicated or mentally draining, but some people have been able to obtain a better outcome.

Having an executor removed

When it comes to removing executors from estates, there are many issues that those involved may have to consider. For example, you may be listed as a beneficiary and feel that the executor is not performing his or her responsibilities properly. Or, perhaps you have been named an executor and are being falsely accused of wrongdoing. The law offices of Joseph A. Ledwidge recognizes the various challenges that people face over the removal of an executor in Jamaica, and the rest of New York.

Executors may be removed for embezzlement, unacceptable delays in paying inheritance, unfairly showing favoritism toward beneficiaries and misusing assets belonging to the estate. If you suspect that the person who is responsible for handling an estate’s assets are not performing their duties correctly, you should not hesitate to have them held accountable. On the other hand, if you are an executor and someone is falsely accusing you of wrongdoing, you should make sure that you take steps to protect yourself from the false allegations right away.

As if legal matters involving an estate are not challenging enough, having an executor removed can open up strong emotions and lead to a bitter family dispute. In order to reduce family drama and stress, it is very important for people who are in the middle of an estate-related standoff to carefully examine the situation and make sure the right steps are taken.

On our page that is dedicated to removing an executor, you can review additional material related to this aspect of probate law .

Standing up for your rights as an executor

If you have been named the executor of a loved one’s estate, you may be facing a plethora of challenges. Not only do executors often experience emotional pain and a considerable amount of stress related to handling the estate, some find themselves in the middle of a dispute with family members. In Jamaica, and across New York, it is pivotal to understand your responsibilities and rights as the executor. At the law offices of Joseph A. Ledwidge, we are very familiar with the difficulties executors may encounter.

If you are an executor who is trying to contact those who were named in a will to distribute the decedent’s property, you may be in a difficult position. For example, you could be involved in a dispute with beneficiaries. In some cases, beneficiaries falsely accuse an executor of playing favorites or mismanaging assets in an attempt to have the executor removed.

Unfortunately, people who are going through this often have strong emotions and these standoffs can make life even more difficult for families who are trying to come to grips with the passing of a loved one. Although you should attempt to secure an outcome that is positive for those involved, you should not allow your rights to be trampled on. After all, managing an estate can be very complicated and executors do not deserve unnecessary troubles.

If you visit our page on removing an executor, you can read more about some of the legal issues that the executor of an estate  may face.

Do I really need a probate lawyer?

If you are involved in the estate of recently deceased person, then you probably already know that the state maintains procedures for how to deal with the estate of an individual who passes away. Unless some significant effort has gone into estate planning to avoid the probate process, the estate of a decedent will have to pass through probate.

Many people have the mistaken belief that the simple act of creating a will is enough to avoid probate, but this is not the case. Even if an individual has created a will, the probate process may be triggered if the estate meets certain conditions.

No matter how the estate may be entangled with probate, the guidance of an experienced attorney can help ensure that process goes smoothly and does not unnecessarily deplete the estate before being distributed to the correct beneficiaries.

A good probate lawyer connects many dots to make the most efficient picture

It’s easy to assume that since the probate process is automatically triggered if steps are not taken to avoid or streamline it, it must be fine to just let it run it’s course – after all, that’s what it’s there for, right?

This perspective fails to acknowledge how wasteful, inefficient, and inflexible the process is. Estates that are simply left to pass through probate without good legal counsel may become depleted by the system before they even make it to their intended beneficiaries.

In many cases, the guidelines of the state regard how property should be distributed may be far from what the decedent intended, and may leave you without what you should have received.

A probate lawyer coordinates and shepherds many facets of the process , including

  • Identifying any tax burden that the estate may have
  • Locating and valuing all the assets in the estate
  • Handling insurance issues and payouts
  • Ensuring that all the proper documentation drafted and filed with authorities
  • Instructing the executor on keeping the decedents bills in order to avoid incurring debts

Can you do all those things yourself? Well, maybe – but almost certainly not with the same cost-saving efficiency. The notion that it will be cheaper to forego a probate attorney is misguided in most cases, because it does not take into account how much may be lost without proper guidance.

Why should the government eat up that estate?

Ultimately, the probate process does not have to be an epic saga that spans what seems like generations of time. An experienced counselor can help you walk through all portions of probate , and make sure that the estate is left as intact as possible in the process. If you are facing probate, there’s no reason why you should walk through it alone. After all, you’ve got a life to get on with living!