A personal representative, also known as a fiduciary, is a person who is responsible for another person’s estate and/or assets. The fiduciary may make decisions on behalf of a living client, or he/she may manage the disbursement of estate to beneficiaries after a client’s death. In any case, the fiduciary is held to a high standard. Failure to act accordingly with the client’s assets may result in a surcharge action. A probate lawyer can help you understand the circumstances that allow a surcharge action to be filed.
What Is Surcharge Action?
A surcharge action is a complex legal procedure that is utilized to restore losses to an estate. A fiduciary is expected to act with extreme care when managing another’s estate. Failure act accordingly can lead to a breach of fiduciary duty, such as improperly investing the estate’s assets, failure to pay creditors in a timely manner, or blatant mismanagement. When this behavior leads to waste and/or unnecessary decreased in assets, beneficiaries may file a surcharge action against the fiduciary.
Filing A Surcharge Action: Follow These Steps
If you wish to file a surcharge action against a personal representative, the first thing that you should do is contact a probate attorney. Florida probate is a complicated field. In order to understand surcharge actions and its relation to probate, you must rely on probate lawyers who know the ins and outs of the legal field in relation to management of one’s estate. Gainesville probate attorneys can help you determine if a surcharge action is the most suitable route for you to take.
Sometimes when a personal representative has acted inappropriately, it is necessary to file a petition for removal of the personal representative. In addition to removing or replacing the fiduciary, probate courts may also assess a surcharge to recover damages caused by the personal representative.
If you still feel strongly about filing a surcharge action after meeting with a probate lawyer, you should begin to gather evidence that may support your petition. Reasonable suspicion is not enough to prove that a fiduciary has mismanaged or wasted an estate’s assets. In a probate court of law, strong, compelling evidence is required. Therefore, you should begin reaching out to witnesses and/or others who may be willing to attest to the breach of duty. Explain to them the significance of a surcharge action, and request that they present their views in court (or during private meetings). You may also wish to obtain documents, photos and numerical data to support your claim. Proving a breach in fiduciary duties can be difficult, but with the assistance of a probate lawyer, you can be confident that through investigation and sound advocacy will guide you through.
After obtaining your information, contact your probate lawyer again for assistance with filing the surcharge action in a timely and efficient manner with a probate court of law.
If you are successful, attempts to restore the estate’s assets (including interests that would have accrued on the property) are sought. The fiduciary may lose his/her benefits and even be required to make payments toward the estate.
Probate Lawyers in Gainesville, FL
The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates, a Gainesville probate law firm, is proud to represent families in all legal issues regarding probate administration in Florida. As a beneficiary, loved one of the deceased, or a general concerned citizen, you have the right to hold fiduciaries to the high standards they agreed to when undertaking such a responsibility. When a breach of fiduciary duties threatens your or your loved one’s estate, allow our probate lawyers to handle the situation for you through a surcharge action.