Your parent recently died, and you are one of the main beneficiaries of the estate. Your parent or perhaps the probate courts named someone to manage their affairs and distribute their assets. You realize that you have to be patient and wait for the representative of the estate to take the proper steps before distributing any significant assets to you and other beneficiaries.
However, you have recently become concerned about protecting your inheritance. The personal representative tasked with the administration of the estate appears to have misappropriated property from the estate.
Maybe physical items have gone missing from the home, and you noticed that the representative did not include those assets on the inventory provided to the courts and the prospective beneficiaries. Perhaps the representative has been spending a lot of money that you believe comes from the estate or the sale of estate property. Do you have the right to take action and protect your inheritance from that misconduct?
State law imposes a strict standard of responsibility during probate
Those who agree to serve as the representative of an estate do have certain obligations to the beneficiaries of the estate. They should put the best interests of the estate above their own wishes and should not seek to personally profit from their role as representative.
Unfortunately, plenty of people will abuse their position for personal gain or the enrichment of others in their inner circle. Oregon law specifically prohibits the embezzlement of estate assets or even commingling them with the resources of the personal representative. If you can show that they have taken assets from the estate, you can potentially hold them accountable.
How probate litigation can help
If you take the estate’s representative to court because you believe that they have inappropriately retained assets from the estate, you could compel them to return certain assets. The probate courts might also prevent the sale of certain assets or remove the representative from their role and replace them with someone who will handle estate assets with respect.
Recognizing the warning signs of inappropriate behavior by the representative of an estate could help you preserve the legacy that your loved one intended to leave behind through estate litigation instead of allowing someone else to wrongfully benefit from their assets.