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Do you suspect the representative of an estate has embezzled?

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2022 | Estate Litigation |

As a close family member of someone who recently died or one of the likely beneficiaries of their estate, you have an interest in the administration of their estate. You stand to potentially receive property from the estate and have an interest in ensuring that you receive what the deceased individual intended to pass to you.

Unfortunately, the personal representative of the estate may let their greed override their sense of ethics and better judgment. They might take assets from the estate for personal gain or conduct business transactions in the name of the estate that enrich them or people with whom they have close relationships. Instead of upholding their fiduciary duty to the estate, they act in their own self-interest.

What can you do when you suspect the representative of an estate of misconduct?

You can challenge their role

Texas allows you to initiate litigation against the representative of an estate if you do not believe they have appropriately fulfilled their responsibilities. For example, if you believe that they simply have failed to fulfill their duties, you could challenge them and ask the courts to replace them. When you have reason to suspect that they want to act in their own best interests and not for the benefit of the estate and its beneficiaries, you may have grounds for a claim in court then as well.

The probate courts in Texas can replace the personal representative who has violated their fiduciary duty to the estate and its beneficiaries. They could also issue an injunction preventing the transfer of certain assets.

You will need a justification to challenge the representative

The courts generally take dim view of those who bring baseless litigation in the hopes of increasing their own inheritance or control over an estate. When you gather evidence before you go to court, you will have a greater chance of success unless risk of appearing litigious or frivolous to the judge.

Paperwork that shows the overpriced cleaning service maintaining the deceased person’s home belongs to the representative’s sibling could help you challenge the decision to hire that company, for example. An inventory of all the assets that have gone missing since the beginning of estate administration could also help bolster claims of embezzlement or at least of incompetent property management.

Learning more about when you have grounds to initiate probate litigation to challenge a representative can help you protect your inheritance.