If my sister is the executor of my brother’s Will and refuses to give me, beneficiary an account of the Will, what can I do?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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If my sister is the executor of my brother’s Will and refuses to give me, beneficiary an account of the Will, what can I do?

My brother died almost 2 years ago, yet I still have no accounting of what happened with his estate. How long do I have to wait? He died in while we were caring for him at his house. My sister avoids questions about the Will and refuses to answer me. Can I make her answer me? One fact that I know, there was a payment of an insurance check of $20,000 which we were to split as the will said half for each of us his only surviving siblings I got 1 payment of $5000 and another of $2000 and told that was all I I would get.

Asked on August 27, 2019 under Estate Planning, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can file a legal action traditionally called an action "for an accounting" (your state may have a different name for it) in probate court. This is exactly what it sounds like: it is a legal action in which you ask the court to make the executor "account for" what she has done. Executors must follow the instructions of the will; they must act with loyalty to the beneficiaries (people inheriting under the will); they must exercise reasonable care in managing the estate, collecting money due the estate, paying debts, and distributing assets. If an executor is violating her "fiduciary duty" (duty of loyalty, care, etc.), the court can order her to do or not do certain things, or even replace her as executor. A probate attorney would clearly be helpful in doing this; if there's not enough at stake to justify the cost of a lawyer, contact the probate court for instructions.

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