Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC

Will executors' decisions must benefit the estate

When people in Connecticut create a will, they will name an executor in the text of the document. The executor, whose appointment is generally confirmed by a probate court, is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the person who created the will. In addition to distributing the estate's funds as provided for in the relevant estate documents, the executor is also responsible for settling the estate by handling taxes, debts and other issues. In order to promote the best interests of the estate, the executor can make use of its funds. These actions can include defending the estate against legal claims brought by beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries seeking to change the distribution or by outside parties.

In other cases, the executor of a will could have the right to file lawsuits on behalf of the estate. These could include claims against people who have taken funds or property without authorization from the estate; they could also include other types of claims. If successful, these lawsuits would increase the value of the estate.

However, while the executor of the estate has significant discretion to take action to protect or increase the estate itself, he or she cannot use the estate's funds to support his or her private interests. If a lawsuit would only defend the executor or increase his or her assets, it cannot be funded by the assets of the estate. Such an action would put the executor's self-interests in conflict with the estate's beneficiaries.

When people think about making plans for the future, they often consider how they would like to distribute their belongings. However, naming an executor can be just as critical for a positive experience for beneficiaries. An estate planning lawyer may work with people to develop key documents like wills, trusts and powers of attorney that reflect wise choices for their loved ones.

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