I believe our executor is stealing money from my father’s estate.

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I believe our executor is stealing money from my father’s estate.

My father passed away a little more than a year ago. His health was failing mentally and physically in the last years of his life due to the death of his son and alcoholism. He became involved with a con artist who stole millions of dollars from us and forged my fathers signature on a giant real estate loan. Now that my father is deceased, my mother, sister and I are trying to pick up the pieces. The financial records are terrible and there are people blocking us from finding and of these records everywhere we turn. We suspect the executor and another attorney are stealing from us. They threaten to allow the bank, holding the fraudulently signed note, to sue us and to drop the estate and allow the judge to decide things when we simply ask to have properties appraised. We think they’re stealing from our estate based on fabricated numbers.
I live in colorado but my remaining family and these holdings are in Alabama.

Asked on July 14, 2017 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can bring a lawsuit against the executor in chancery court (a part or division of county) court for an "accounting": that is, to make the executor "account" for, or justify, his actions as executor. He is bound by a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate and heirs; he is also obligated to follow the terms of the will. If he is not doing this, the court can do some or all of the following: 1) order him to do or not do certain things; 2) replace him as executor; 3) require him to repay any amounts he caused or allowed to be improperly taken out of the estate. If information arises implicating any other person (e.g. the other attorney) in theft or other wrong doing, he or she can be sued, too. You are strongly advised to retain a probate lawyer to help you: cases involving executors, estates, fiduciary duty, etc. are too complex for the vast majority of lay persons.


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