Is it reasonable for beneficiaries to request a full accounting of an estate after 18 months?

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Is it reasonable for beneficiaries to request a full accounting of an estate after 18 months?

My brother is the executor but I have received very little information about what has happened to the estate since the time it was created. I am worried it’s not being managed diligently and the advisers are not being managed efficiently. Advisers have not been forthcoming with information and told me

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Asked on January 29, 2018 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Given the length of time and the lack of responsiveness, it would be reasonable to ask for an accounting. And if the executor will not provide one voluntarily, you can file a legal action (lawsuit) to require an accounting. Fiduciaries (like executors, such as your brother) have a fiduciary duty (duty of both loyalty and to use reasonable care) to the  beneficiaries (persons who should receive assets, money, or property--like you); when a beneficiary believes that a fiduciary is violating that duty, either by disloyalty or lack of care, he or she can bring a lawsuit in which he or she asks the court to make the fiduciary account for his/her actions. If the fiduciary has acted improperly, illegally, or negligently, the court has the power to order that certain things be done or even to remove the fiduciary and appoint someone else to the role. This kind of lawsuit is, however, much more complex than, say, a small claims case; you are strongly advised to retain a probate attorney to help you.


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