Protecting Your Golden Years

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Did personal estate representative violate duty obligations?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2022 | Estate planning

It’s never easy to mourn the loss of a loved one. In addition to the emotional grieving process, you might have numerous legal issues to tend to after a loved one, particularly a parent, passes away. If you’re a beneficiary in someone’s last will and testament, his or her Georgia estate representative must fulfill several duties that are relevant to you.  

While the primary job of a personal estate representative is to make sure assets are distributed in accordance with the decedent’s will and to make sure debts of the estate are paid, such duties may pertain to you, personally, which is why it’s important to make sure the designated representative does things by the book.  

You have a right to remain informed 

The personal representative of your loved one’s estate owes you a duty of communication as a beneficiary to the estate. In everyday language, this means that the representative must keep you informed about estate issues. For instance, you should be kept apprised regarding issues pertaining to inheritance, estate tax and fair market value of assets.  

What to do if you suspect mismanagement of an estate 

Things don’t always run smoothly with regard to estate administration and probate issues. If you believe the personal representative assigned to your loved one’s estate has acted unlawfully, you can bring the matter to the court’s attention.  

For instance, if estate taxes or debts have not been paid in a timely manner or you are informed that you’re receiving an amount less than you know you’re entitled to, you have just cause for concern. Sadly, issues like this often spark family discord that rages on for years, which is why it’s best to try to resolve such problems as soon as possible.  

Duty of care and duty of loyalty 

As a beneficiary to an estate, a personal representative of the estate owes you the duty of care and loyalty. To put it another way, a personal estate representative must be committed to acting in your best interests regarding your loved one’s estate. A duty of loyalty means that the designated representative would be diligent to prevent any entity from acting against your best interests regarding your inheritance or other relevant estate issues.  

If a fiduciary (person who holds a legal obligation of trust to another entity) fails in a duty of care or loyalty, and that failure of duty affects you, as a beneficiary, you have recourse through Georgia estate laws to protect your inheritance.