What is the Remeedy if an Adminsitrator Doesn'y Give Notice to an Heir?

Full Question:

What happens when there are 3 sisters in an Aunts Will, 1 is named by her name, the other 2 are named as nieces, the named by her name sister is notified, but the other 2 that were named as nieces were never notified of the court proceedings, nothing. Then they find out years later about all of it. The public guardian/administrator/conservators/executive's office in San Francisco Ca. were the ones handling her estate & while handling her estate the 2 that were handling it were terminated for fraud! What happens in a case like this when the 2 nieces find all this out years later? There was NEVER an investigation done on her estate either after the termination of the 2 that committed fraud. My Aunts case was their biggest case back then too I checked. What can happen in a case such as this one? Thnx_
04/13/2012   |   Category: Wills and Es... ยป Will Contests   |   State: ALL   |   #25654

Answer:

Executors are "fiduciaries," which means that the executor must act with the highest degree of good faith in behalf of the estate. The executor must keep his money separate from the estate's; keep detailed records concerning all transactions he engages in on the estate's behalf; not stand to profit by any transaction where the executor represents the estate's interests; and not make a gift or otherwise transfer any of the estate's money, personal property, or real estate to himself unless the will or court order explicitly states he can do so.

Various remedies may be available if a fiduciary duty was breached. Common actions for an abuse of a fiduciary duty, among others, include a petition for an accounting, claim of breach of fiduciary duty, theft, conversion, or a fraud charge.

It will be a matter of subjective determination for the court to determine whether there was a breach of fiduciary duty, based on all the facts and circumstances involved. The standards of care are measured against the subjective interpretation of how a "reasonable" person would act in similar circumstances.

The elements of a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty are:

(1) Plaintiff and Defendant share a relationship whereby:

(a) Plaintiff reposes trust and confidence in Defendant, and

(b) Defendant undertakes such trust and assumes a duty to advise, counsel and/or
protect Plaintiff;

(2) Defendant breaches its duties to Plaintiff; and

(3) Plaintiff suffers damages.

The elements of a claim for breach of fiduciary duty are not fixed as the claim may arise from virtually any case where one party accepts the trust and assumes the duty to protect a weaker party.

Affirmative defenses to a claim for breach of fiduciary duty can include, but are not limited to:

(1) The passing of the statute of limitations for filing the claim.

(2) Lack of fiduciary relationship (for example, when the parties did not enter a fiduciary relationship, but rather conducted business in an arm’s length transaction there is no duty to protect the other party or disclose facts which the other party could have discovered by its own diligence.)

(3) Lack of standing

(4) Approval (for example, if the alleged actions followed full disclosure to and the consent of the Plaintiff)

(5) Business judgment rule (ex. that the corporate fiduciary's actions were motivated by a bona fide interest in the well being of the corporation where shareholders are the ones owed the fiduciary duty)

We are prohibited from giving legal advice, as this service provides information of a general legal nature. We suggest you consult a local attorney who can review all the facts and documents involved.

Please see the following CA statutes to determine applicability:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=08001-09000&file=8250-8254
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=01001-02000&file=1200-1214
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=08001-09000&file=8110-8113
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=11001-12000&file=11050-11052
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=prob&group=09001-10000&file=9600-9606