How to get the executor of an estate to fulfill their duties?

UPDATED: Sep 10, 2012

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How to get the executor of an estate to fulfill their duties?

My brother is the executor of the estate. My mother died intestate with my brother and I the only children. Her husband died 10 years ago. She has been dead for over 4 months and he has done nothing to even try to settle the estate, mainly sell her home she owned free and clear. He has had the letters testamentary in his hands for 3 months. He will not return phone calls and has given no inventory of anything in the estate. What can I do?

Asked on September 10, 2012 under Estate Planning, Georgia


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is a technical answer to your question and a practical answer.  The technical answer is you could challenge your brother's actions as the administrator of your mother's estate.  I would not advise that, at least not yet.

There are many technical steps in an estate.  For example, the court may require a bond and that would have to be secured.  The administrator has to publish a notice of administration, do research to identify your mother's possible creditors, and provide notice to the creditors.  In Florida, creditors have 90 days (3 months) from receiving notice to file a claim.  The administrator then has to review the claims and either accept or deny them.  Most states do not require an inventory so early in a probate proceeding.  Your state may require court approval to list the home for sale. 

In short, there are many steps your brother needs to take and he probably does not know any of them.  He may have to wait for advice from the lawyer.  One step may be impossible until three other steps are completed.  This takes time, and frankly, 3 months is not a long period of time.

Now for the practical answer to your question.  Call the lawyer handling the estate.  The lawyer or his or her staff can probably tell you what has been done, what is waiting to be done, and when you can expect action.

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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