Woman incapacity planning with attorney

Can a personal representative be held liable for mishandling the estate?

You have been appointed to act as the personal representative for your mom’s estate. From the prior post, you know the duties and obligations of handling the estate. But what happens if you make a mistake?  Can you be held liable for that mistake?

Yes, a Minnesota personal representative can be held liable for mishandling an estate. A personal representative, also known as an executor, has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries. If the personal representative fails to fulfill this duty and mishandles the estate, they can be held personally liable for any losses or damages that result.

Some examples of mishandling an estate that could result in liability for the personal representative include:

  • Failing to properly inventory and appraise the assets of the estate
  • Mismanaging estate funds or investments
  • Failing to pay debts or taxes owed by the estate
  • Paying debts in the incorrect order
  • Distributing assets in a manner that is not consistent with the terms of the will or Minnesota law
  • Engaging in self-dealing or conflicts of interest

If the court finds that you mishandled an estate, you may be required to reimburse the estate for any losses, pay fines or penalties. This reimbursement would come from your own personal assets.

Further, you will be removed from you position as personal representative. To avoid potential legal liability, it is important for you to seek legal advice and guidance to ensure you are fulfilling your duties and avoiding any potential liability.