Skip to main content

If a beneficiary breaches his duty as fiduciary and caretaker after the will is made, is he still entitled to be beneficiary?

Canton, MA |

my brother, who talked my mother into changing her will and leaving everything to him, locked my mother in his house, would not let me or
my son see her or talk to her on the phone; she got sick; he didn't get her
medical care. He called 911 to have her pronounced dead, but she was alive, and they tried to revive her for 40 minutes but she died. He told the ER room doctor that she had been fine; wasn't sick;, and she had a history of stroke, which she did not, but nobody checked it out. He and my sister siphoned all her money, and now he is getting her house also. So my question is:
If an executor/fiduciary/caretaker/sole beneficiary breaches his duty as fiduciary and caretaker after the will is made and before the testator dies, is he still entitled to be the beneficiary?

Attorney Answers 3


I am quite sorry to hear about these events. The one thing you should know above anything else is that you have the right to have the will set aside as having been the product of the "undue influence" of your brother. You also have the right to recover the funds taken from your mother. If your mother is not in a position at this point to determine how she has been vicitimzed, then I suggest that you have a guardian appointed on her behalf. The guardian could then bring suit for the benefit of your mother and seek to set aside the will and recover the funds as mentioned above.

We this profile quite often in undue influence situations; one child attempts to take over complete control of a parent's affairs because that child has a hidden agenda, and in the process that child cuts off his/her siblings' access to the parent.

Please feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss this matter in greater detail. My blog on undue influence and other things related to estate and trust disputes is on my web site at

Mark as helpful


This is a very serious matter. In fact, your brother may have committed a criminal act. Also, in Pennsylvania we have something called the Slayer's Act which basically precludes a beneficiary from receiving assets from the person they have killed. You must immediately seek counsel in your state to explore your legal options. Do this immediately.

Hope this helps.

Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law in PA. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is only in the form of legal education and is intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.
Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

Mark as helpful


As mentioned in a prior answer, it is an all too common story for an adult child to take effective control of an aged parent and then wall them off from other family members. The allegations about the 911 call and the emergency room doctor move this out of the more common situations and on to a new problem level, however.

These are very serious issues raised by your story. There may have been both criminal and civil wrongs. You should contact an attorney immediately to assist you in this matter which could see you contacting the police or the district attorney's office. Do not delay in contacting an attorney.

Daniel T. Blake

This response and the information contained herein are not intended to form an attorney-client relationship. The answer provided is based solely on the few facts presented in the question and represents at most a preliminary and hypothetical response. It is for informational purposes only and may not be considered as legal advice. For specific legal advice and recommendations about your particular situation, contact an attorney to schedule a consultation

Mark as helpful

Wills and estates topics

Recommended articles about Wills and estates

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics