Do I have options if the executor is not following the will?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | probate

After a loved one dies, as a beneficiary of their estate, grief and loss is your primary concern. However, as you work through that process, your rights in that loved one’s estate become clearer. And, in the aftermath of a loved one’s passing, the executor holds a pivotal role in executing their wishes as per the will. But, what if they deviate from these instructions? Or, what if you think they are simply not doing their job?

The executor’s duties

An executor, or personal representative, bears the weighty responsibility of overseeing the deceased’s estate. This encompasses asset consolidation, debt settlement and asset distribution to beneficiaries. And, in everything the executor does, they are bound by a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries.

Beneficiary rights in Massachusetts

Beneficiaries in Massachusetts possess certain rights. These include the timely receipt of designated property after probate, as well as access to the will itself. Should the executor withhold this document, beneficiaries have the legal entitlement to request it for clarity on their inheritance.

Remedies for executor misconduct

In instances of executor non-compliance, beneficiaries can explore various avenues. One option is beneficiaries might consider is legal action, if the executor breaches their duties. Grounds for such action include failure to furnish financial statements, unjustified delays in asset distribution or perceived favoritism towards specific beneficiaries. Legal recourse can extend to claims of breach of fiduciary duty, asset mismanagement or disregarding the will’s stipulations.


In summary, Massachusetts beneficiaries possess the means to address executor deviations from the will. Understanding these rights is paramount to ensuring appropriate actions are taken, should your beneficiary rights be infringed upon. It is imperative to uphold the executor’s fiduciary duty in safeguarding the estate and beneficiaries’ interests.