Who overseas the executor of the Will to make sure things are in check?

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Who overseas the executor of the Will to make sure things are in check?

My mother died 4 months ago and my sister has power of attorney and her husband is the executor of the Will. About 10 years ago, my mother had a paid for house. She told me at the time she had almost $500,000 in savings and stocks. Now, my sister and her husband are telling me that mama had a gambling addiction, and that she was in bankruptcy, and there are no assets. They have not shown me any documentation, no disclosures. I don’t even have a copy of the Will. I do have a death certificate, that’s all. What can I do?

Asked on July 31, 2015 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As somone who is likely in the will (it has not been proven that you are not) and who would inherit if there is no will (under "intestate succession"), you should qualify as an "interested party." An interested party can bring a legal action in probate or surrogate's court, seeking a court order compelling the executor to account for, or document and prove reasonable and accurate, the estate assets and her conduct or control over them. If the executor has wasted, diverted, misappropriated, etc. any assets, she can be held accounable for them. Because proceedings in probate or surrogate's court are different from a simple lawsuit for money, and because of how much may have been at stake ($500k+), you are advised to retain an attorney to do this.


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