What to do if the administrator of an estate took money for their own benefit?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What to do if the administrator of an estate took money for their own benefit?

My uncle passed away 2 years ago without a Will and since he had no wife or children we decided to appoint his only living sister administrator because she lived near him. My uncle had owned a home that he sold or gave to a friend prior to his death. He had told my sister and me that he had over $40,000 in a safety deposit box and we told our aunt about the money. She has been trying to get his house and insurance money back from his friend because she think she’s intitled to though she’s not. We just found out that she’s spent the money for personal use and the attorney she hired for the estate at one point had the money in his possession, although there has been no order of discharge from the court.

Asked on September 30, 2015 under Estate Planning, Tennessee


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You should petition the probate court to have your aunt removed and a successor appointed to administer your uncle's estate.  In your lawsuit against your aunt, you should seek the remedy of a constructive trust.  A constructive trust will require your aunt to return the funds she has stolen to your uncle's estate.  A constructive trust can also be used to trace the funds to items purchased by your aunt, and those items or their value can be returned to your uncle's estate.

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