What to do if the executor of an Will maintains that there is no money left in the estate?

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What to do if the executor of an Will maintains that there is no money left in the estate?

My brother-in-law is the executer of my mother-in-law’s Will; each sibling was intuited to approximately $20,000. She passed a year ago. The siblings are being told the executer has signed all of the money over in legal fees and they will get nothing. Is this possible?

Asked on April 26, 2015 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is possible, if the estate had substantial legitimate debts, including legal fees. But if you believe this is not what happened and that rather, the brother-in-law misappropriated or squandered the money, the siblings could bring a legal action in probate court seeking an accounting of the estate and your brother-in-law's management of it. If he did misappropriate, waste, etc. the money, the siblings may be able to get compensation from the brother-in-law, since as an executor, he is a fiduciary and has an obligation/duty to the beneficiaries. Speak with an attorney who handles probate work to find out more about the mechanics (and cost) of doing this.


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