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Executors and Surcharges in Lehigh County, PA

Posted on Wed Mar 25, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Executors and Surcharges in Lehigh County, PA

Most Recently Updated July 14, 2018.

“I am the Executor of a Lehigh County, Pennsylvania estate. Should I be worried about the beneficiaries attempting to surcharge me?”

Jointly Owned Property with Children

Executors and Surcharges in Lehigh County, PA

Executors and Surcharges in Lehigh County, PA

As an executor, you have a duty to take possession of, maintain and administer all the real and personal estate of the decedent. In essence, you must preserve and protect the property for distribution to the proper persons within a reasonable time, in the manner a reasonably prudent person would in their own affairs.

Failure of Duty

When an executor fails to fulfill this duty, the court may impose a surcharge. A surcharge is a penalty imposed to compensate the beneficiaries for loss in value to Estate assets. The loss had to have been caused by the executor’s failure to meet his duty of care, not simply an error in judgment. A beneficiary would initially bear the burden of showing the executor’s failure to meet the proper standard of care.

The Lehigh County Orphans’ Court has broad discretion in surcharge cases including the full power to inquire and determine all questions that may prevent or delay the conversion and distribution of property. After reviewing the facts and law, the court can grant relief “as equity and justice shall require.”

This power is extremely broad.

This includes power to surcharge the personal assets of the Executor for mismanaging funds, or surcharging for return Executor’s compensation to the Estate. The assistance of an experienced Lehigh County Probate Attorney can help ensure your personal assets never become the target of a surcharge.

More Probate Questions?

Avoiding surcharges is only part of the overall probate process. By all means, if you wish to learn more, please read my more detailed article, The Probate Process All You Need to Know.

In Conclusion: Executors and Surcharges in Lehigh County, PA

I hope that this article was helpful in explaining how to avoid a surcharge. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!

Let our Probate Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced Probate Attorneys.  By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!

Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do

 

Tags:

Executor, Fiduciary Duty, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, Probate, Probate Attorney, Probate Lawyer, Surcharge

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