Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Thanks for your questions and good afternoon.Here the lawyer/executor has two sets of duties.As executor of a decedent’s estate takes on the duties and responsibilities of a fiduciary. A fiduciary is responsible for carrying out the intentions of the Testator and holds property in a position of trust for the heirs. The law charges the fiduciary with certain responsibilities in handling estate assets, and the fiduciary can be held personally liable if those assets are managed improperly.
Preservation of assets should be the fiduciary’s primary goal. The fiduciary is under a duty of keeping personal affairs and fiduciary responsibilities separate. This means that the fiduciary must not mingle estate funds with his or her personal funds and must never use estate funds for personal use. The fiduciary must act fairly and impartially in carrying out the terms of the will and should never favor one creditor or beneficiary over another.
Additionally the executor here is required to communicate with the heirs and address any inquiries by heirs of the estate.You have the right here to raise unanswered questions or issues such as a sale for less than fair market value or say delayed closings first with the executor and then with the court.
The executor can be removed by the court if there have been violations of the fiduciary duties by the executor regarding the estate assets or self dealing, etc.You can seek a hearing with the court to address such issues and removal if necessary.
Additionally a lawyer has professional duties as a lawyer and you can file complaints against his licensure and even a malpractice suit if the lawyer has acted improperly or failed to carry out his professional duties to the estate and heirs as well.
It sounds like you have had chronic problems here consider writing the court and asking for a hearing here on the issues and you can argue for removal of executor unless he can show good cause for his failures to communicate and carry out his duties.Make sure you have good notes about times and dates you have not gotten information or assistance to show a pattern here.
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Reference to duties of executor...
Law authorizing removal of executor..
(A) The probate court may remove any executor or administrator if there are unsettled claims existing between the executor or administrator and the estate that the court thinks may be the subject of controversy or litigation between the executor or administrator and the estate or persons interested in the estate.
(B) The probate court may remove any executor or administrator upon motion of the surviving spouse, children, or other next of kin of the deceased person whose estate is administered by the executor or administrator if both of the following apply:
(1) The executor or administrator refuses to bring an action for wrongful death in the name of the deceased person .
(2) The court determines that a prima-facie case for a wrongful death action can be made from the information available to the executor or administrator.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.52,SB 124, §1, eff. 1/13/2012.
You also have a right to terminate the lawyer here and seek his removal as executor.You can also file a complaint with the state for his actions here.
The Counsel Statewide Bar handles complaints about lawyers in Connecticut. To file a complaint about a lawyer in Connecticut: www.jud.state.ct.us Lawyer Complaint Mailing Address Counsel Statewide BarXXXXX Suite 2, Second Floor East Hartford, CTNNN-NN-NNNNbr/> Telephone(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>
There are also more grounds for removal and these appear to be the ones that apply to your situation here.
Sec. 45a-242. (Formerly Sec. 45-263.) Replacement of fiduciary. (a) Grounds for removal of fiduciary. The court of probate having jurisdiction may, upon its own motion or upon the application and complaint of any person interested or of the surety upon the fiduciary's probate bond, after notice and hearing, remove any fiduciary if: (1) The fiduciary becomes incapable of executing such fiduciary's trust, neglects to perform the duties of such fiduciary's trust, wastes the estate in such fiduciary's charge, or fails to furnish any additional or substitute probate bond ordered by the court, (2) lack of cooperation among cofiduciaries substantially impairs the administration of the estate, (3) because of unfitness, unwillingness or persistent failure of the fiduciary to administer the estate effectively, the court determines that removal of the fiduciary best serves the interests of the beneficiaries, or (4) there has been a substantial change of circumstances or removal is requested by all of the beneficiaries, the court finds that removal of the fiduciary best serves the interests of all the beneficiaries and is not inconsistent with a material purpose of the governing instrument and a suitable cofiduciary or successor fiduciary is available. A successor corporate fiduciary shall not be removed in such a manner as to discriminate against state banks or national banking associations, nor shall any consolidated state bank or national banking association or any receiving state bank or national banking association be removed solely because it is a sucessor fiduciary, as defined in section 45a-245a.
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