Can money be withheld by the executor of an estate?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can money be withheld by the executor of an estate?

My dad passed away and my brother is the executor of his estate and it

states in my dad’s Will that everything is to be split 4 ways. Well, my brother is refusing to give me my share of my dad’s life insurance but hasn’t held from my other 2 siblings. Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on October 31, 2018 under Estate Planning, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can file a lawsuit against your brother as excutor and against your father's "estate." An executor is obligated to follow the terms of the will; he has no legal authority to disregard them. If he doesn't follow the will, you can bring a lawsuit for an "accounting"--to have the executor account for his performance under the will. A court can order him to do what the will says; to personally pay beneficiaries if his actions cost them money or assets to which they are entitled; and/or replace him as executor. Ideally, hire a probate lawyer to help you, but if you want to act as your own attorney ("pro se"), contact the clerk's office of the probate court for instructions.

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 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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