After the passing of a loved one, you may have wondered what would happen to his or her remaining possessions. In most cases, individuals are in charge of ensuring that a person's remaining estate properly closes by carrying out necessary tasks. These tasks may come as part of the legal process known as probate, and a named executor or court-appointed personal representative typically has the responsibility of carrying out these tasks.
Though the deceased individual may have named someone other than you as executor or the court appointed a different person, you may still have concerns when it comes to making sure that the estate is handled with care and proper attention. Therefore, you may wonder what actions an executor can lawfully carry out.
The executor must handle numerous financial aspects that come with closing an estate. As a result, he or she should obtain access to the estate's funds in order to pay creditors, taxes and any remaining payments. You may find yourself concerned that the executor could potentially use those funds in any way he or she pleases, but that person has a fiduciary duty to use the funds properly. If the executor uses estate funds for personal gain or in other inappropriate ways, he or she could face legal action.
Another task that the executor must attend to relates to distributing property to beneficiaries. If the decedent left behind a will with instructions on how to distribute certain assets, the executor must follow those instructions. Of course, your loved one may not have mentioned every specific piece of property he or she owned in the will. However, the executor does not have the ability to take those remaining assets and distribute them as he or she pleases. State laws regarding property distribution should take precedence in such situations.
If you believe that the executor of your loved one's estate is not acting in a manner befitting the role, you may wonder how you could address your worries. You may want to gain additional information on the abilities and powers an executor has and determine whether you have valid reason to question his or her actions. If you feel that you do have grounds to contest the administration of the estate, you may wish to consider your legal options.
In some cases, probate litigation may prove necessary to ensure that your loved one's final wishes are appropriately carried out. Because this endeavor can prove complicated, you may wish to seek assistance from an Arizona attorney.