From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My mother named me executor, but I don’t get along so well with my brother and I am afraid he will sue me. Can I be personally liable as the executor?
The executor is a fiduciary, owning a duty of care to the beneficiaries. If your brother is an heir, he has the right to review all actions you have taken as executor and, if he feels any action you took reduced his inheritance, as the judge to surcharge you (fine you) so he receives the correct inheritance.
In many ways, being executor is a thankless task. You get little reward if you do everything right, but you can be penalized if you do something wrong. If you wish to serve as the executor, you have the right to use the estate funds to hire an experienced probate lawyer to represent you. Part of that probate attorney’s job is to keep you out of trouble and to obtain for you a release of liability from your brother. Don’t give him any money until you have your release!
If you have any other questions about Probate, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.