The state of your and your family's future relies heavily on the quality of your estate plans. It takes careful planning to ensure the security of your well-being, property and family. An important part is giving certain people legal powers as executor of the estate or power of attorney.
Unfortunately, sometimes the people in these roles abuse their powers and cheat you and your family of your assets, which is devastating emotionally and financially. The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of it happening as well as remove dishonest fiduciaries.
First, you must be very careful in your selection of who will obtain various legal powers in your behalf. Just because someone is related to you does not mean she or he has your best interests at heart.
Even those who have good intentions and are not out to cheat you still may not be trustworthy with money and other responsibilities. That person may lack the necessary experience and knowledge, or she or he may be too proud to learn duties with or without professional guidance. Therefore, it is important to choose someone who is not only qualified and reliable, but also teachable and accountable.
Prepare your family
Of course, you cannot guarantee that the person you appoint will do the job appropriately. Thus, your family needs to know what to do in case of a breach in fiduciary duty. They must recognize the warning signs:
- Making choices that clearly go against your will
- Using your assets for personal gain
- Investing recklessly
- Wasting, endangering or withholding your property
- Failing to keep or share records
- Not reporting to the court
- Neglecting duties
If your family members see any of these signs, they need to gather evidence to present to the court for the judge to remove the person as fiduciary.