UPDATED: Jun 9, 2009

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Two heirs to an estate of a recently deceased person. Can the person who is designated executor in the Will, and who is ensconced on the property in question, drag his feet and refuse to sign the Petition of Probate to begin the process, because it is in his own best interest for Probate not to begin? Is there a time limit to file the initial Petition, please? Thanks.

Asked on June 9, 2009 under Estate Planning, Connecticut


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Within 30 days of the testator's death, the will must be brought to the probate court in the district in which he or she had last permanently resided.  This is usually the responsibility of the executor  and there is a criminal penalty for failure to do so.

Additionally, an executor owes the estate a "fiduciary duty", this means that the affairs of the estate must come before the executor's own personal interests.  If there is a breach of this duty, the court may elect to remove and replace the executor.  Additionally, the executor is personally responsible for any damage to the estate as a result of their self-dealing, as well as possible civil and criminal penalties.

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