Can You Sue The Personal Representative After The Estate Is Closed?
When a loved one passes away, it can be difficult to know what steps to take, especially if you believe that the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is not performing their required duties.
In some cases, family members may choose to sue the personal representative of the estate for mismanaging funds or failing to distribute assets properly. But is this possible after the estate has been closed?
If you wonder whether it is possible to sue a personal representative of the estate after it has been closed in Florida, contact Pompano Beach estate & probate litigation lawyer Mark R. Manceri, P.A., to discuss your legal options.
Grounds for Suing the Personal Representative
Generally speaking, there are four grounds for suing the personal representative of someone’s estate in Florida. These include:
- Breach of fiduciary duty. In order to make a successful claim under breach of fiduciary duty, claimants must be able to prove that the PR did not fulfill their duties properly or responsibly.
- Negligence. Negligence occurs when someone fails to act with reasonable care when handling another person’s assets or debts after death.
- Fraud or deceit. Fraud or deceit occurs when someone intentionally misrepresents facts about an estate in order to gain financially from it themselves—this could include hiding assets or falsifying documents related to an estate’s distribution process.
- Bad faith. Bad faith claims occur when someone acts dishonestly towards another person either intentionally or through gross negligence related specifically with regard to handling their assets after death (e.g., refusing requests made by beneficiaries).
If you believe a personal representative of your loved one’s estate has not fulfilled their duty, you may be considering filing a lawsuit. Contact a knowledgeable attorney to help you navigate the process of suing the personal representative.
In order for a plaintiff to successfully win such a case against a personal representative, they must prove that:
- The Personal Representative acted negligently or fraudulently;
- The Personal Representative acted outside their authority;
- The Personal Representative engaged in intentional misrepresentation; or
- The Personal Representative fraudulently mismanaged funds or assets from the estate.
This can be difficult because many people who serve as Personal Representative do not have any legal experience. The court may require expert testimony from an attorney or accountant in order to better understand how exactly any financial dealings occurred throughout probate proceedings.
Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A., to Get Help
Suing a personal representative for mishandling an estate is not something that should be taken lightly—it should only be done if there are compelling reasons why such action is necessary. If you believe that your loved one’s estate was mishandled in some way by its executor and you would like to seek justice through legal action, contact an experienced attorney who can help guide you through this process and advise you on whether pursuing litigation is worthwhile given your situation.
Our estate & probate litigation attorney at Mark R. Manceri, P.A., helps individuals and families in Pompano Beach and surrounding areas to file lawsuits against estates and personal representatives. Call 954-491-7099 to talk about your situation.