What rights do heirs have in regard to getting an accounting of money being split?

My mother died a month ago and 2 sisters were signatories on her checking account; 1 of those sisters handled the sale of mom’s house 3 months ago. The other sister was named the executor of the Will and had power of attorney over mom’s finances. She said that she will be distributing the money soon. There are 7 other children and we have never seen paperwork from the sale of the house and we do not know now much money was in mom’s bank accounts.

Asked on November 5, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

An executor of a Will owes the estate a "fiduciary duty". That means that when a person is given the responsibility of managing estate assets, that person has been given a trust and is expected to operate with honesty, integrity and for the benefit of the beneficiaries. To the extent that a beneficiary has a reasonable suspicion that there may be a breach of this duty, they can make a request to the Probate Court that an accounting be ordered. This will ensure that no assets have been squandered or stolen. After, if it is determined that the executor has proven themselves to be unqualified, incompetent or even corrupt, they can be removed from their position. The court can do this with something called a "fiduciary removal proceeding".


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