What is my recourse if I believe that my uncle’s lawyer who is executor of his estate has stolen money from the account and is mentally unfit to be executor?

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What is my recourse if I believe that my uncle’s lawyer who is executor of his estate has stolen money from the account and is mentally unfit to be executor?

My uncle died 4 years ago. He named his friend who is a lawyer as executor. 1 year ago this lawyer had a stroke and closed his office. Since then I have not spoken with him though I have made repeated attemps to contact him. I have never received any paperwork concerning the estate. I did speak with his secretary who said that the books needed to be redone because there where accounting errors. I also feel that there is a substantial amount of money that is unaccounted for.

Asked on May 17, 2019 under Estate Planning, Idaho

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can bring a legal action in county court (the county in which your uncle resided) for "an accounting": that is, to ask the court to look into the executor and make him "account for" for his handling of the estate (that he has been carrying out the will's instructions; that he has been loyal to the beneficiaries' interests; that he has acted with reasonabler care; that he has not diverted or taken money or other assets to himself; etc.). If the court finds that he has not done his duty, it can order him to do certain things or repay amounts improperly taken and/or replace him as executor. 
This kind of legal action is substantially more complicated than, say, a small claims suit. If there is a "substantial amount of money" involved, it is well worth your while to retain a probate attorney to help you.


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