Is the Personal Representative personally liable to the estate beneficiaries?
Posted on Fri Oct 30, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration
From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: New Jersey Personal Representative Liability
Most Recently Updated July 31, 2018.
“I filed my father’s will with the Surrogate and was named the Personal Representative, but am having second thoughts. My family is litigious. Can I be sued and found personally liable?”
New Jersey Personal Representative Liability
By accepting the position of Personal Representative you became a fiduciary with a duty to the beneficiaries. If your family is litigious, you are right to be concerned. All the beneficiaries have the right to petition the Surrogates Court and ask the court to surcharge you should they feel any action you took reduced their inheritance. This could be a sale of land at too low a price, a fee you paid to a creditor, or even your salary.
Don’t give the beneficiaries any money until you have received from them a full release of liability!
The Right to Use Estate Funds
Because of this chance of liability, New Jersey allows every Personal Representative the right to use estate funds to hire an experienced probate lawyer to represent them. One of the probate attorney’s jobs is to keep you out of trouble, and to secure for you a full release of liability. Given that the heirs are litigious, you would be well advised to retain an experienced estate attorney with litigation experience to represent you.
More Probate Questions?
New Jersey Personal Representative Liability 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: New Jersey Personal Representative Liability
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining New Jersey Personal Representative Liability. 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, New Jersey, Probate, Probate Attorney, Probate Lawyer, Standard of Care for Fiduciaries, Surrogate