What can be done if a relative is hiding estate assets from a benenficiary?

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What can be done if a relative is hiding estate assets from a benenficiary?

Grandpa died in 01/10 in AZ. As far as I know there is no Will. My sister was there in the days after and saw paperwork with me as POD on multiple policies. My grandpa had told me that he wanted it to go to me to get a home for my child. My mother claims that he left me nothing and it is all hers. I cannot get in the house to see for myself. My mother has not reported him dead to the banks and is using his signature and credit cards in his name. She is getting more cards in his name also. I do not know what to do.

Asked on August 11, 2010 under Estate Planning, Kansas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your situation.  The State should have automatically notified the banks of your Grandfather's death.  This sounds a bit odd.  What you can do is to take charge of the estate and to apply to the Probate Court in the County in the State in which he resided at the time of his death to be the Personal Representative. This would give you the power to take the steps necessary to administer his estate and to deal with your Mother.  Understand that from what I can gather from your question your Mother will not be taking it lying down.  She will fight you every step of the way.  If you do not want to go this route - and you know where he banked - I would contact the bank with a copy of his death certificate and advise that at the time of his death there were several accounts that had validly executed POD's and that passed to you at the time of his death by operation of law.  That the bank should be on notice that any changes to the account after the date of death are invalid and illegally done.  I think you need to go to Arizona but call an attorney there before hand so that you have everything set to move when the plane touches down.  Good luck. 


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