People in New York who are beneficiaries under a will may be put in a difficult position if the executor does not perform the required duties duties promptly or effectively. Beneficiaries have the right to make executors take care of their obligations. An estate can be damaged and lose value due to an executor’s actions.
In many cases the most valuable asset of an estate is the testator’s principal residence. If the house is not promptly put up for sale, then the estate is diminished through various expenses such as utilities and property tax. Other actions must be taken as well such as transferring auto and home insurance policies into the name of the estate. Insurance coverage can be jeopardized if this is not done promptly. It is also necessary to file the final income tax return for the testator as well as estate income tax returns on time.
Instead of neglect, an executor might take more serious actions that damage the estate. These could include misappropriating assets or not accounting for them, living rent-free in real estate owned by the decedent and failing to distribute assets.
It is important that an executor administer an estate efficiently. Whether or not the damage to the estate is intentional, the effect may be the same. Executors are not expected to be legal or financial experts, but as fiduciaries, they are supposed to meet a certain standard in administering the estate. In many cases, the advice and counsel of an attorney who has experience in probate and estate administration can be valuable.