How do i force a full accounting from an executor

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How do i force a full accounting from an executor

My uncle passed in April 2015 without a will. I am one of 13 heirs. Two cousins were appointed executors. Based on a letter received from an attorney representing the executors there are assets unaccounted for. We estimate it to be over 200,000. I have asked for a full accounting receipts documentation and have only received a list of assets and expenses. How do we force a full accounting and how do we recover these funds?

Asked on September 26, 2018 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can bring a lawsuit for what is called--appropriately enough--an "accounting": that is as someone with a monetary stake in the matter (an heir), which conveys you "standing" (or the right to bring a legal action), you file a lawsuit in chancery court (a division or part of county court) asking the court to make the executor(s) account for, or justify, their handling of the estate. If they are found  to have diverted, taken, or wasted (though carelessness) assets, they can be forced to return them to the estate (even if that means reimbursing the estate out of their own pockets) and distribute them properly. Such a lawsuit is procedurally and legally much more complex than, say, a small claims case: with $200k+ unaccounted for, you are advised to retain a probate lawyer to help you.


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