If relatives are in possession of my grandfather’s estate, how do I go about protecting the assets that we should receive?

My father was executor of grandfather’s estate. My father died first, leaving my uncle/dad’s brother as executor. My aunt, uncle and nephews are in possession of checking accounts, home, farm, and have disbursed autos. My grandfather told me that my sister, brother and I would receive his stocks valued at around 300k. Have checked with probate in the county and there’s no pending action to probate the Will. The court says they have up to 4 years. However, by then they will have spent every penny and then some. In fact, 1 nephew suddenly has the funds to open his own pest control business.

Asked on June 1, 2016 under Estate Planning, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

When they say four years... they mean the time to file an action... not the time you have to wait to do something.  You have roughly four years to file the probate action.  If one is not already pending, you need to file one and ask the court to impose rules which protect the assets.  This does not sound like a huge estate that would justify pending for four years.  The court can impose rules to expedite the distribution of assets.  Just because you are not the executor, it doesn't mean that you cannot seek to have the will probated.  In fact, if you are concerned about the loss of an asset, you can seek to have the will probated.  You can also ask the court to remove any executors who have already breached their fiduciary duties.

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