If the executor is unresponsive, have your estate litigation attorney contact them directly. If this doesn't work, we can obtain a court order. The judge can force them to respond or even remove the executor.
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From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: “The Executor of my mother’s estate will not return my calls. What to do if Executor is Ignoring You?”
Tracey M. Connor, Philadelphia Will Contest Lawyer
What should you do if the Executor Ignores you?
An Executor owes heirs a fiduciary duty. This doesn’t mean that they have to keep you informed every day, but they do have to provide you with information so that you can determine if your inheritance is secure. If your reasonable requests for information have been ignored, let us represent you.
If the Executor is lazy and is not concerned about you being upset, often having our estate litigation team firmly contact them is enough. Unfortunately, some Executors won’t do their job until you have an experienced attorney they know will bring them before the judge. Faced with being served a petition, they suddenly “remember” to contact you.
Other Executors need more persuasion. Sometimes, Executors have mental health issues, personality conflicts with the heirs, or have stolen estate funds. These reasons may mean they will never complete their tasks without involving a judge. If so, our qualified attorneys will file the necessary petitions and assemble the evidence to bring them before a judge.
These procedures happen in a specific court. This is what we do. We don’t dabble in other areas. Our litigation team focuses only on estate litigation matters. We can help.
What Should You Do as a Beneficiary?
If you are a beneficiary of an estate, start by being polite, persistent, and inquisitive. The Executor does not have to involve you in every decision, but it is best to put them on notice early that you expect communication.
What are reasonable beneficiary requests for information?
If the Executor did not send you a copy, request a copy of the Will. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, do not require that the Executor provide you with a copy, but in today’s world, sending you a PDF copy by email costs nothing. If the Executor does not give you a copy, obtain one from the Register or Surrogate. Filed wills are public information. If you have any questions about the Will, hiring one of our experienced probate lawyers to review it and then explain the terms is wise. Don’t guess at your rights; let your attorney clearly articulate them.
Once you understand your inheritance, have your attorney communicate your wishes and expectations to the Executor. For example, if you are given a portion of the personal property, which items would you like to inherit? Another typical example is letting the Executor know if you prefer to inherit real estate or have it sold.
Request an itemized list of the estate’s assets. The Executor may not have all the details for several months, but as the information becomes available, it is not unreasonable for the Executor to keep you informed.
Have your attorney communicate to the Executor that you expect a detailed accounting of all assets and expenses. This may help reduce the Executor’s costs, as the Executor knows that you and your lawyer will examine all costs.
If there are assets such as investment accounts, ask for the statements from the month the person died. This gives you a snapshot of what the Executor shall collect.
If the Executor refuses to provide these reasonable items, have your estate attorney take appropriate action.
Our Executor Removal Team:
Attorney Tracey Connor, pictured above, is part of our Estate Litigation team. This team regularly handles cases involving enforcing beneficiary rights. We have been doing this for many years; this is our area of the law. We don’t dabble in other areas like personal injury or divorce; we laser focus on estate litigation. Attorney Connor works with a team that includes Department Head Attorney Glen Ridenour and Attorney Brian Perez.
In Conclusion, Do you need an Estate Litigation Attorney?
I hope you found this short article, What to do if Executor is Ignoring You, useful. I have also included some links for more detailed information.
Contact us if you want to know more or have an estate needing our help. Let our Pennsylvania Executor Removal Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. Feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
It’s All We Do Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation!
Peter Klenk is the founding member of Klenk Law, a seven attorney boutique estate planning law firm. We serve clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota and Florida. Peter Klenk received his Masters in Taxation LL.M. from NYU Law School and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He served his country in the Navy JAGC during Desert Storm. Easy to talk to, feel free to call Peter for an appointment. We will make the process as easy as possible!
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