When are a beneficiary’s rights if they feel that an executor is mishandling an estate?

UPDATED: May 30, 2011

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When are a beneficiary’s rights if they feel that an executor is mishandling an estate?

Executor entered safe deposit box days after death using deceased drivers license (she jokingly commented she did know she looked so much like her sister. Also, there was supposed to be an attachment to the Will but she said there wasn’t one. She even made me have the mausoleum cleaned and pay for the flowers because she stated she needed to keep funeral expenses down. Then she said the lunch after the service cost $4000 and that I needed to pay 1/3. I didn’t because she wouldn’t help pay the small cost of cleaning and flowers. Is this activity legal in handling someone’s estate? Am I entitled to an accounting?

Asked on May 30, 2011 under Estate Planning, Connecticut


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can petition the court to have the executor removed and have another executor appointed.  The grounds for removal would be fraud with regard to the executor's admission of using her sister's driver's license to obtain access to the safe deposit box.  The other actions by the executor you mentioned may also constitute fraud; sticking the beneficiaries with the costs you mentioned when the estate should be paying the funeral costs (mausoleum cleaning and flowers). The exorbitant $4000 charge for lunch also sounds suspicious.  You can demand an accounting. The missing attachment to the Will would either be negligence or possibly fraud on the part of the executor. 

Again, these items all raise serious questions about this particular executor and would be the basis for your petition to the court to have this executor removed and another executor appointed.  If this person is not replaced as executor based on her track record, there will be further problems when funds are to be distributed to the beneficiaries.  

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