Can You Sue An Executor Or Administrator For Mismanaging An Estate?

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The beneficiaries of an estate expect to see that the legacy of their loved one will be managed with care. However, that's not always the case. You might wonder whether you'll be able to sue an executor or administrator for not properly managing an estate. Here are 5 areas of concern an estate litigation lawyer will tell you to look at before you sue.


An executor or administrator has a duty to the beneficiaries of an estate. That duty is to ensure that as much of the value of the estate gets to the beneficiaries as possible.

Understandably, the courts allow for some maintenance expenses. For example, if it takes a couple of years to transfer a house to a beneficiary, the executor can use some of the funds from the estate to pay for its upkeep. You wouldn't be able to sue for the loss of justifiable maintenance costs. However, you would be able to sue if the executor didn't have anyone do the maintenance and the house fell apart due to incompetent care.

Record Keeping

The records of the transactions tied to an estate are the bread and butter of the work at an estate litigation law firm. If the administration of an estate left behind poor records, that may be grounds for a suit. Notably, the remedy may be something fairly simple, such as replacing the executor or correcting the records-keeping problems.


One of the worst possibilities is that an executor committed offences against the estate. Suppose in the previous example of a poorly maintained house that the executor neglected the property deliberately so they could pocket expenses for upkeep. That would be fraud, and you'd be well within your rights to sue. The suit would likely cover both the costs associated with what was stolen and the financial damages caused by the neglect of the house.

Risking the Estate

An executor may invest portions of an estate's proceeds to maintain the value of the estate. However, they have to make these investments in low-risk assets. Purchasing a highly graded bond, for example, would be an appropriate choice. Trading stock options would not be appropriate due to the volatility implicit in the market.


Every estate will lead to a handful of judgment calls. The law's understanding is that the executor must implement the decedent's desires as faithfully as possible. If the executor unduly favours one beneficiary in contradiction to the will, they may be liable.

Reach out to an estate litigation lawyer to see if you have a case.