How can we get an executor to do their job?

My wife’s father died 11 months ago and her sister appears to be the executor. To this day, I have no idea what his Will says. When can I see the terms of the Will? Can I compel my sister-in-law to inform me (or at least her sister, my wife), or can she just sit on it indefinitely? I’ve been married for 18 years. Do I have any standing as the son-in-law of the deceased?

Asked on October 22, 2014 under Estate Planning, Texas


Christine Socrates / Christine Sabio Socrates, Atty at Law

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

All of your questions depend on your father in laws assets and how they were held.  Although there was a will and your sister in law is named executor, if he died with assets that were payable on death to a beneficiary, held jointly or have a named beneficiary, there may never be a reason to probate the will or open a probate estate.  If you know what the decedent's assets were at the time of of his death, I would advise you to consult with an attorney and have a full evaluation.  You can contact my office if you would like my assistance.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and the situation that has arisen. If you were named in the Will then you would have "standing" to compel the Proposed Executor to admit the Will to probate.  But if you were not, then your Will can do so.  It may be a good idea to ask an attorney to write a letter on your behalf.  It may be enough to move her along. Good luck. 

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