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Succession and Estate Law Disputes Related to Fiduciary Duty

In Louisiana, succession representatives are appointed by the courts to help administer and settle the succession or estate property. Executors are named by the decedent in a will and administrators are appointed by the court when there is no will. All succession representatives have fiduciary duties to the estate and the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate. Executors and Administrators are required to collect, preserve, and manage the property of the succession and estate; pay the debts of the estate; prepare an accounting of the succession property; and distribute property to the heirs or legatees.

Executors and Administrators are required by law to act at all times as a prudent administrator for the benefit of the estate property and are personally liable for all damages resulting from failing to act prudently. Administration of a succession sometimes takes a long time particularly when there are ongoing businesses. Succession representatives sometimes have to sell estate property and are required to do so at fair market prices without any self-dealing.

Disputes sometimes arise between the heirs or legatees who are the beneficiaries of the succession and the Executor or Administrator. Depending on the severity of the dispute, the beneficiaries may need to request that the court remove the Executor or Administrator and replace them with another person who may protect their rights. Although the representative may be personally liable for damages caused by imprudent investments, improper disposition of property, or other breach of fiduciary duty, it is often better to request removal of the representative before the damages become too large.

When disputes arise, it is important that the representatives and the beneficiaries obtain advice from separate counsel as the duties, rights, and obligations of the individuals are not always in line. It is important to speak with a succession and estate lawyer in Bossier City, Louisiana when a dispute first occurs so that you may understand all of your options before making any decisions.