What if you do not trust the executor of a Will that you are a benefiary of?

My 2 sisters were left as executors of my mother’s estate. They are letting my brother live in my

mother’s home for free. They have changed the locks to the home and have taken my mother’s car and rings. I have not signed off on the Will yet. They refuse to tell me anything about her banking, life insurance, etc. What kind of lawyer do I need and will it cost me a fortune?

Asked on September 11, 2017 under Estate Planning, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can file a legal action in chancery court (a part or division of county court) for what is commonly called an "accounting": that is, to hold the executors accountable for their management of the estate. They are obligated to follow the terms of the will and to be fair to all beneficiaries, without favoring any one. If a court concludes that they are violating these obligations, they could be ordered to do (or not do) certain things, or even be replaced as executors.
Such an action is much more procedurally complex than, say, a small claims case. You are strongly advised to retain a probate attorney, but expect that such an action could cost between $5,000 and $10,000 at a reasonable guess. (Every lawyer sets his/her own rates; nothing stops you from "comparison shopping" for the best deal.)

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