Can the executor of an estate put a freeze on the deceased assets?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can the executor of an estate put a freeze on the deceased assets?

My father died two years ago and my sister and I have yet to see a
will. My step mother claims that she put a freeze on my dad’s
assets/estate. Can she do that? I think she is hiding something from
my sister and me.

Asked on October 31, 2019 under Estate Planning, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

An executor can IF doing so is in the best interest of the estate and the heirs/beneficiairies--such as if she suspects someone has access to the assets and is trying to siphon them or steal them, or while she determines competing claims.
But the action must be in the interest(s) of the estate and those who will inherit: the executor has a fiduciary (law-imposed) duty to act in their interest. If the executor is doing this so that she can take assets or to cover up her own wrongdoing or for any other improper reason, it is illegal.
If you don't trust the executor, you can bring a legal action called an action "for an accounting" to make the executor "account for" her handling of the estate: demonstrate that she is following any will and the law, being reasonably careful, acting in the estate's and heirs' interests, etc. If a court determines that she is not doing this, it can order her to do or not do certain things, to repay money she took or lost from the estate, or replace her as executor. 
If the amount of money at stake is enough to justify legal fees, hire a lawyer to help you. If not, contact the probate court for information about this kind of legal action.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption