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When creating your estate plan, you trust that the people you choose to manage your last will and testament and any trusts or powers of attorney will do so with your best interest in mind. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

The executor or administrator of your estate (also called a fiduciary) must legally do so with your best interests in mind.  In other words, the fiduciary must act in your best interests even if those interests are contrary to their own.

Keep reading to learn more about fiduciary responsibilities in estate planning and what happens if they breach those duties.

What Is a Fiduciary?

In estate planning, like other areas of the law, a fiduciary is an individual who serves as your representative to carry out your will, financial decisions, long-term medical decisions, and others after you pass on.

A fiduciary is required by law to act in good faith with honesty and integrity on your behalf as well as on the behalf of any beneficiaries or heirs. Additionally, estate planning fiduciaries must fully disclose all facts when administering or overseeing your estate.

Fiduciary responsibilities are often referred to as the highest duties under the law.

What Are Some Signs That a Texas Fiduciary Has Breached Their Duties?

A fiduciary can breach their legal responsibilities by taking deliberate steps to benefit themselves, such as taking an action directly in contrast to your requests in your will or trust.

Here are some other instances when a fiduciary breach may occur:

  • Failing to carry out your instructions in your estate
  • Commingling assets
  • Embezzlement
  • Self-dealing 
  • Fraudulently misappropriating assets from a trust
  • Failing to distribute assets to named beneficiaries
  • Failing to give notice to beneficiaries and heirs, as required by law
  • Making late distributions
  • Ignoring the estate altogether

How to Address Fiduciary Breach in Texas

Before issues arise when administering an estate plan, all parties should ensure that everyone involved with the will and trusts understands what is to be expected of them when the time comes.  This ounce of prevention can go a long way in making sure that rights, duties, and obligations are satisfied.

However, if things do go wrong, and a Texas fiduciary breaches their responsibilities, you should consult an experienced estate planning attorney who has experience in Texas fiduciary breaches.  

Although some fiduciary breaches may be settled out of the courtroom, others will involve litigation to determine the extent of the breach and the possible remedies available to your beneficiaries and heirs.

In these instances, it’s best to have the help of a skilled Texas estate and trust litigation attorney to help you navigate this legal process. 

At Norris & Weber, our experienced and compassionate attorneys are dedicated to protecting your family’s future. If you are facing difficult matters related to estate or trust administration or even litigation, you can rely on our firm to defend your best interests while making this challenging time go as smoothly as possible. 

Our attorneys share over 85 years of experience and are ready to put their knowledge on your side. Call us today for a consultation.