If estate assets went missing under the guardianship of the executor, who is responsible?

There were $60,000 – $70,000 worth of coins; the coins owner is suing the estate and the 2 executors. 2 of the heirs saw and counted the coins and the room was immediately locked with the executor having the only key. We suspect that the PR’s took the coins. The PR now claims no knowledge of the coins. Should the other heirs have to be penalized by paying for legal defense for the estate?

Asked on September 9, 2010 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may need to have the estate pay for legal defense to not only have a reassignment of the executor but to sue all who you believe are involved in the theft and to ensure those individuals (if more than one) pay the estate back/give back the coins and pay for the attorney costs.  At the end of the day, the executor has certain responsibilities and to ensure that the estate assets are not wasted and in most circumstances that the assets are kept safe.  If you know who did it, you should immediately contact both counsel and the police and get the process started to get back what you need.


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