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When a person dies, whether or not they left behind a will, their estate usually needs to be probated. You may be a named beneficiary under a will, or may (if there was no will) be entitled to part of the estate under the laws of intestacy.

In either event, a personal representative will be appointed by the probate court — either as an executor of the will, or as an administrator of the estate (if there is no will). In whichever capacity, such person is a fiduciary and is required by law to perform his or her duties in good faith and with the best interests of the estate beneficiaries in mind.

Problems can arise, and the experienced attorneys at Hodges Law Firm, LLC, can recognize and solve them. We represent plaintiffs and defendants in claims involving alleged breaches of fiduciary duties by executors or administrators. Please contact us if you see a dispute or problem arising.

Disputes over estate administration can arise when the decedents' heirs or beneficiaries discover that the personal representative is not administering the estate properly. Estate dispute claims can involve a breach of fiduciary duty, wrongful interference with inheritance, fraudulent conveyances, conversions or misappropriations, self-dealing, negligence and claims for an accounting.

Wrongful Interference With Inheritance

This can occur prior to the will being probated. Property has been left to you in a will or trust, or you are in line to inherit without a will as an heir. Someone wrongfully unduly influences the testator to give them the property you were to receive, or misuses a power of attorney to plunder the potential estate. This can involve a will, trust, joint account, jointly owned property or a life insurance property. Russell Hodges has successfully sued to get back property wrongfully taken, encumbered or otherwise interfered with. Contact the experienced estate dispute attorneys at the Hodges Law Firm, LLC, to protect yourself and the property that should have been yours.

Self-Dealing

Each executor or administrator owes the estate beneficiaries a duty of good faith, which means protecting the assets and not converting them or using them for their own benefit. If they do that, they are engaged in self-dealing. Russell Hodges has successfully sued in cases of self-dealing to protect or receive assets involved in self-dealing.

Breach Of Fiduciary Duties

Executors and administrators, as fiduciaries, have sworn duties to protect and preserve the assets of an estate, and to settle the estate in a reasonable period of time. When they do not act with reasonable speed to settle an estate, or when they mismanage assets, a claim for breach of fiduciary duty may arise. The experienced attorneys at the Hodges Laws Firm, LLC, have successfully handled these claims and can act to protect your share of the assets.

Accounting

As a beneficiary, you have a right to be informed concerning the administration of the estate. When an executor or administrator fails to disclose or withholds such information unreasonably, you have the right to petition the probate court for an accounting. The attorneys at the Hodges Law Firm, LLC, are prepared to help you with this — to get you the facts and keep you informed.

The legal opinions expressed herein are the result of research specific to certain areas of estate law in the state of Georgia and should not be taken as generalizations about wider areas of law. The author retains all copyrights and copies may only be distributed with written permission of the copyright owner. Distribution to any person other than the intended person is expressly prohibited. Georgia and federal laws change frequently, different situations may yield different results under the law, and you should always consult with an attorney regarding these and other legal matters. Finally, different attorneys may have different opinions about the same areas of law, and, particularly on tax matters. There are many divergent sources of law which add confusion. For example, a U.S. District Court ruling which is different from the position of the Internal Revenue Service. Please consult with an attorney regarding specific questions and situations.