Does an administer appointed by the court have free reign over all of the decedents belongings?

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Does an administer appointed by the court have free reign over all of the decedents belongings?

Also, can the administrator dispense of property (unknown to heirs) and deem the property as “junk and of no value”. The items were very personal and have sentimental value as well as monetary value. Now, all was thrown into a dumpster and will not be seen again. My family was very upset and feel that this “man” is not God and certainly not an appraiser. Is there anything that we can do? He has done many other questionable things (too lengthy to discuss in email). Please advise ASAP as we only have a limited amount of time.

Asked on December 29, 2014 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, the administrator must act in accordance with the law: 1) pay any lawful debts of the estate and 2) distribute the estate as per the rules of intestate succession (who inherits what when there is no will). If the administrator does not do this, a legal action can be brought against him in chancery/probate/surrogate's court (it does by different names) to form him to account for his acts. The family should consult with an attorney who handles probate cases to explore their options.


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