Estate Fraud

Wrongful Acts of Fiduciaries

When an estate goes through the administration or probate process in New York, a fiduciary—known generally as the executor, administrator, trustee or personal representative—is appointed to facilitate the appointment process.

Once the necessary parties are notified and the requirements are satisfied by New York State law, then the petitioner is appointed as the administrator by the court, also known as the fiduciary.

When a trust document is filed with the court, the petitioner will seek appointment as trustee. Once the court determines the trust is valid and all the requirements are met, the court will then appoint the trustee and issue letters of trusteeship. The trustee is also known as a fiduciary.

The fiduciary has several responsibilities—

  • Administration of the estate in a timely fashion
  • Compiling an accounting of the assets of the estate
  • Obtaining valuations of property
  • Paying last debts and taxes
  • Overseeing the orderly distribution of estate property
  • Compiling records and accounting for the financials
  • Giving priority to the best interests of the estate

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

The fiduciary is not allowed to do the following:

  • Live in the property owned by the estate
  • Allow a family member or friend to stay on the property and not pay rent
  • Commit fraud
  • Accept improper gifts
  • Engage in self-dealing
  • Commingle funds
  • Incur losses created by the neglect of the fiduciary

These are just some of many examples of improper behavior that may amount to a breach of duty. These wrongful acts can result in damages, removal, etc.

If you have concerns about the actions of an estate fiduciary, contact the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston. We have more than 20 years of experience handling estate litigation for people throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island.

Our Representation in Fiduciary Actions

We work with people at any stage of an estate fiduciary action, helping you take the right steps to protect your interests. We handle a broad range of fiduciary disputes, including controversies involving:

  • Breach of fiduciary duty—We will carefully review the actions of an executor, administrator, personal representative or other estate fiduciary, and will take legal action to stop all wrongful conduct and hold fiduciaries accountable for any breach of fiduciary duty
  • Removal of a fiduciary—When a fiduciary has violated his or her duties, whether through self-dealing, conflict of interest, or other wrongful actions, we will help you take the appropriate steps to remove and replace the fiduciary
  • Contested accountings—We will help you challenge an accounting or inventory of assets, as well as fiduciary accounts of income or expenses related to an estate

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