If an administrator does not talk with one of the heirs about final division of the estate, what are the heirs rights?

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If an administrator does not talk with one of the heirs about final division of the estate, what are the heirs rights?

My brother knowingly filed a false statement with petition for probate. He has continued to make false allegations to/towards me. He does not discuss anything with me. For example, I had tried before probate, and continuing to the present, to get him to at least request a “at location appraisal ” to establish true value. Every proposal presented is rejected period. Now he has a another plan that as he said I need you to work with me on this. I don’t believe anything he says.

Asked on April 21, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Based on the facts presented, there appears to have been a breach of "fiduciary duty" by the adminsitrator (your brother).  This duty is the duty implied when someone is put in a position of trust to benefit other, such as that between an executor/administrator and beneficiaries/heirs.  An administrator owes a duty to exercise its obligations to the estate in accordance with applicable pursuant state intestacy laws (the laws governing the administration of an estate when there is no Will).  Accordingly, an administrator must at all times exercise good faith and put their interests second to the interests of the heirs and/or estate.      

Since your brother has done nothing to advance the probate of the estate and has allegedly filed a false petiton (although you did not stay why you believe it to be false), there may well be either fraud, negligence, and/or other misconduct at play.  Therefore, you can contact the probate court in question and/or consult directly with a probate attorney on all of this.  You can challenge your brother's role as administrator and have him removed for breach of his fiduciary duty.  Additionally, you will then need to have someone else appointed who can challenge any transfers and transactions that may have been made which were not in the best interests of the estate, as well as move to have an accounting of the estate.  If your brother, in his capacity as administrator, is bonded (insured) you may also be able to go after any insurance money to recoup losses, if any.


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