When Florida residents are appointed the executor under a will, this does not mean that they can do anything they want with the testator’s assets. In fact, they a number of duties that they are required by law to perform.
In one situation, a person’s sister was named executor of their mother’s will. The children were supposed to be equal beneficiaries, but the executor was evasive about her duties. She would not do an inventory or provide needed tax forms related to a trust that others needed in order to file their taxes. She also said that she was keeping the house and most of their mother’s possessions.
This was likely a breach of the executor’s fiduciary duties, which are owed to all beneficiaries. Listing assets and their value is one of an executor’s primary jobs. Furthermore, an executor is not permitted to simply keep assets. They must be distributed according to the provisions of the will. The executor is also supposed to provide a full accounting of the estate’s financial matters from the date of death until the estate is closed. If this does not happen, there might be legal consequences.
Because of possible scenarios like this, it is important to choose the right executor when preparing a will. Serious probate issues such as self-dealing could arise, leading to prolonged and expensive court battles that could drain an estate’s resources as well as delay the distribution of assets. Because of this, some estate planning attorneys will suggest to their clients that, rather than appointing a child, an independent party such as a trusted friend who is not listed as a beneficiary could be a better choice.