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Reducing A Beneficiary’s Share Of An Estate Is Going To Require Some Backup

August 5, 2014

Authors

Luke Lantta

Reducing A Beneficiary’s Share Of An Estate Is Going To Require Some Backup

August 5, 2014

by: Luke Lantta

It can be frustrating to an executor and other beneficiaries of an estate when one of the beneficiaries causes unnecessary cost to the estate.  Wills and some state statutes sometimes provide a way to reduce that beneficiary’s testamentary share of the estate.  These provisions are often couched in terms of the executor having “discretion” to reduce a beneficiary’s share.  But, as the Georgia Court of Appeals explained in In re: Estate of Hazel Williams Helms, discretion doesn’t mean that an executor can arbitrarily reduce a difficult beneficiary’s testamentary share of an estate.  As we have previously seen in the context of a court applying the doctrine of set off, if someone is going to get less than that to which they are entitled under an estate, there needs to be specific evidence

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Damages Against Executor/Beneficiary Who Breaches Fiduciary Duty

April 9, 2014

Authors

Luke Lantta

Damages Against Executor/Beneficiary Who Breaches Fiduciary Duty

April 9, 2014

by: Luke Lantta

When fiduciary litigation involves individuals, there is sometimes the risk that a successful plaintiff will get a judgment against an individual fiduciary but will never be able to collect the monetary damages award from that individual.  When a wrongful executor is also a beneficiary of an estate, making a successful beneficiary/plaintiff whole can get a little easier through the doctrine of set off.

In Georgia, under this doctrine, a legatee or owner of a distributive share in an estate may set off such share against a judgment against him unless special reason exists requiring collection of the judgment.  While Georgia probate courts have broad authority to set off a money judgment against a personal representative’s share of the estate, certain findings and calculations are necessary.  Thus, a probate court cannot just broadly prohibit an executor who breached his or

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