What are my options if I feel the executor of my father’s estate is not being honest and upfront. She will not let anyone see any details.

UPDATED: Jun 2, 2009

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What are my options if I feel the executor of my father’s estate is not being honest and upfront. She will not let anyone see any details.

I think my sister, who is executor of my father’s estate, is either not capable or actively trying to defraud us as she is insisting his land is worth much less than what it actually is. My portion (1/7th as their were seven children) has been divided between myself and my two children so that I only receive 1/21st of the estate). The land is adjacent to and abuts Lake Michigan and a world-class golf course, but my sister insists the land is only worth $3000 an acre because it is farmland. Other similar land in the area is listed for $50,000 and more. She will not let anyone know details.

Asked on June 2, 2009 under Estate Planning, Georgia


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

It's time for you -- and any of your siblings who agree with you -- to see a good wills and estate lawyer, and demand to see the details, all of them.  The law and procedure for this vary somewhat, from one state to the next, and the facts of the case, as much as you know so far, are also important.  One place to look for the attorney you need is our website, http://attorneypages.com

In many states, you would be able to file (in court) a petition for an accounting, to force the executor to essentially open the books, and give you an opportunity to question anything that isn't right.  An executor has a fiduciary duty, to be completely honest and fair;  if that duty has been broken, the executor can be forced to make good any losses out of her own pocket, and in some cases she can be removed and a substitute executor appointed.

I wouldn't wait to do this.  This could be a situation where someone has offered to give your sister an illegal kickback, for selling the land to them very cheaply.  If that is what is happening, you should be able to stop this.  I would think that the statements about the land value would be enough to make the court sit up and take you very seriously.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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