Can a judge approve an estate accounting if I am not present in court to object?

UPDATED: May 19, 2011

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Can a judge approve an estate accounting if I am not present in court to object?

I live in CA; my father’s wife is in NY. She has not upheld her fiduciary duty as executor of his Will. She has given items to others rather than following the terms of the Will, she has distributed money to heirs prior to paying all debts, and she has listed funeral expenses as a Schedule D claim rather than a Schedule C debt. There are also numerous clerical errors in the accounting. A lawyer told me they cannot make me sign, however, if I do not appear the paper says that I approve. Should we wait until they sue for the money (Schedule C-1, D and executor’s fees). How can I legally disapprove without a lawyer?

Asked on May 19, 2011 under Estate Planning, California


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  It is unclear if you filed formal objections to the accounting but for the sake of argument I will assume that you did.  Now, although the paperwork is on file, the proponent of the objections - you - does need to be there OR have a representative be there on your behalf.   If you do not then you stand the chance of having the court disregard the objections.  Additionally, you seem to have issues about her actions as a fiduciary.  Why did you not make a motion to have her removed?  Did she post a bond which would allow you to recover against her a bit more easily?  I think it is penny wise and pound foolish,so to speak, to go this without an attorney.  You can hire one possibly on a flat fee basis and for the purposes of the appearance.  Think about it.  Good luck. 

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