The appointment of a party to handle administration of the estate is not just important for your own peace of mind, but it’s essential for your beneficiaries as they’ll have to work with and speak to this person during probate. If the executor fails to keep them properly informed, this can strain relationships, delay probate, and even lead to legal claims filed against the executor.
Even when you had the best intentions with determining who would play the executor role, it’s possible that you’re concerned about errors, lack of communication, or other problems that might impact your beneficiaries in the future.
It’s hard for beneficiaries to know when they are not being fully informed about a necessary aspect of an estate’s management. Complex estates can take months or even years to be fully handled by an estate executor, particularly if this person has not served in this role before or is not clear on all the responsibilities it requires.
A beneficiary might not know about many details associated with assets owned by the estate. Reasonable details need to be presented to beneficiaries by the trustees. If you have attempted to communicate with the trustee multiple times and have been unsuccessful in doing so, beneficiaries do have recourse to go to court and to ask the judge to order a trustee to provide reasonable information about assets inside a trust.
If a lawsuit gets filed over this issue, this could enable beneficiaries to subpoena banks and brokerage firms and you could even subpoena property management companies, for example, if the estate owns an apartment building that is being managed by the executor.
Taking action to enforce the rights of a beneficiary requires skilled legal insight. If you are a person crafting your estate right now and are concerned about these issues affecting your loved ones in the future, schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer to discuss the importance of selecting the right trustees and executors.