Probate Litigation Attorneys
Exceptions to Accounts / Inventories and Surcharge Actions
- Represent various bonding companies, including St. Paul Travelers, AIG, Hartford Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Peerless Insurance Company, and private executors, trustees, and beneficiaries in actions revolving around the accountings and inventories of fiduciaries. Typical actions include the following:
Represented beneficiaries of Estate against Executor who failed to include several items of personal property including a valuable coin and stamp collection that Executor claimed decedent gifted to Executor's son in the months before decedent's death. Was successful in resolving the dispute on the basis that the beneficiaries of the Estate received the items instead of the Executor's son. Obtained breach of fiduciary duty verdict against estate executor for failing in her duty to diversify the estate’s assets and prudently invest the same that resulted in fiduciary’s removal. The executor took possession of stock, which represented 90% of the estate. The executor waited until it lost 200k in value before she sold it. Court held that the executor had a duty to diversify on the day of her appointment and, failing to do so, is responsible for the losses caused.
- Guardian or executor fails to account for assets held in his possession. The court usually appoints a successor trustee, guardian, or executor who then sues the former executor, guardian or trustee in surcharge seeking to recover any assets for which the former fiduciary fails to account. The defense of these actions requires the investigation of assets and the attempt to account for the whereabouts of monies allegedly improperly withdrawn.
- The pursuit of actions for accountings and surcharge requires a significant investigation of the whereabouts of the assets in an effort to establish that monies were either improperly spent or fraudulently embezzled from the estate, guardianship and/or trust and seeking an order returning the assets to the estate.