The death of a loved one or a business partner can be difficult. The administration of a large estate can add to that difficulty. Often the duty of settling the estate and distributing the assets falls to a fiduciary such as an attorney, a trustee, a personal representative, an administrator or an executor. That fiduciary holds a position of trust and is responsible for holding and managing property that belongs to the beneficiaries.
With this position of trust comes certain legal obligations that are owed to the estate’s beneficiaries such as the duties of care and loyalty.
In the context of being an executor or administrator, a fiduciary duty is a legal obligation to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries of the estate. Illinois law imposes various responsibilities and duties on these individuals, including:
- Acting in the grantor’s and beneficiary’s best interests
- Acting loyally and uphold a duty of care
- Avoiding conflicts of interest
- Abstaining from engaging in self-dealing (i.e. taking actions that personally benefit the trustee or executor at the expense of or contrary to the best interest of the beneficiaries)
- Avoiding favoring one beneficiary over another
- Investing the estate’s assets to maintain or increase their value
- Distributing estate assets to the intended beneficiaries correctly and in a timely manner