Blackwood, NJ asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Civil Litigation and Probate for New Jersey

Q: Is it a breach of fiduciary duty if an estate administrator quick sells two properties for less than they are worth?

My sister is currently Administratrix of my late mother’s estate and has already committed various breaches of fiduciary duty, including requesting the estate reimburse her for debt owed by the decedent she was liable to pay as power-of-attorney and attorney-in-fact to the decedent before her death. My sister in an attempt to keep the remaining heirs from being able to seek legal counsel and hold her accountable has recently sold two properties part of the estate as a quick sale. These properties were appraised for 150 thousand and 100 thousand, respectively, and both were sold for 50 thousand a piece, well below market value. The sale of these properties were not authorized by the remaining heirs, as this information was not disclosed to us. Is this legal? Do we as heirs of the estate have grounds to seek legal counsel and have the Administratrix removed due to a breach of fiduciary duty? Also, are the lawyers hired by the Administratrix also liable for professional negligence?

2 Lawyer Answers
Derek John Soltis
Derek John Soltis
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Jersey City, NJ

A: You need to go over everything you just asked a question about with an attorney. I have seen a $400 home sell for $78,000 because of liens that couldn't be avoided so the new owner took on the liens. I have also see properties sell under market value because a hoarder lived in them, tenants were giant a-holes and causing issues, the structure did not have a certificate of occupancy, the property was part of a law suit.

I am not saying any of these apply to your situation, but there could be reasons for the prices or flat out theft and collusion by the executor, in which case the executor can be made to pay.

Talk to an attorney off line, do not expect random internet posts to speak to your family's specific issues.

Morris Leo Greb
Morris Leo Greb
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Rockaway, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Yes, depending on the facts she may be held responsible. . You should speak to an attorney experienced in estate matters about having your sister removed as an administratrix and having another person apponted by the court.

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