Does an adminstrator of an estate with no Will, have the right to go in and take any of the contents for themself and members of their family?

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Does an adminstrator of an estate with no Will, have the right to go in and take any of the contents for themself and members of their family?

Asked on May 30, 2015 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not there is a Will, an executor/personal representative/administrator owes the estate that they are overseeing a "fiduciary duty". This means that they must administer estate matters in a competent, fair and honest manner; this includes no self-dealing. Accordingly, if the administrator of the estate in question has wrongfully taken estate assets for themself and/or family members there are in breach of their duty. At this point, the heirs of the estate can bring an action aginst the administrator for the return of the items taken and for financial reimbursement for any items that are not returned. They can consult directly with a probate attorney for more details or they can contact the applicable probate court.


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