My mother passed away April 2012. I have 3 siblings. My step-father was appointed as Administrator of her estate, as my other siblings live in different states, and he was prepared to oppose any one of us if we requested appointment ourselves. She had no will. To date, he has not handled ANY of her business. Debt collectors are calling me, looking for my mother because he hasn't submitted ANY documentation to the companies where she conducted business. Also, does he have a right to dispose of her personal belongings as Administrator, without giving us a chance to go through it? Her china, that we bought her years before they ever met, he will not give to us. Nor, does he allow us to go to the house to get things we know she owned prior to them meeting. Can I take him to court?
Estate Planning Attorney
My condolences on the loss of your mother. You can petition the court to have your stepfather produce accountings and you can seek his removal as administrator. However, neither is a do-it-yourself task. You will need to consult an attorney who is experienced in estate litigation.
If debt collectors call you about your mother, you should tell them that your mother is deceased and that they should contact your stepfather. Give them his name and contact information.
This answer is not intended to provide you with specific legal advice regarding your situation, or to create any attorney-client relationship. The intent is only to provide general information. You should be aware that you cannot rely on this answer to provide you with any protection against tax penalties. You should always consult your own attorney in order to obtain legal advice.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Each time a creditor calls, you should be giving your step father's name, address and phone number and let them know he is administrator.
Bear in mind that if you gave your mother things, those are now her assets and get divided between her children and your step father.
Having said that, if he's not doing his job, retain a lawyer to seek an accounting and/or his removal. This will be a stronger case if the siblings are all on teh same page.
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I recommend that you start by having a well drafted letter from an attorney requesting an inventory and verified accounting. Sometimes a letter on attorney letterhead can work wonders to motivate someone to do their job. Failure to be responsive may make him liable for your litigation costs, with the proper foundation. He may have been relieved of filing repots with the court (you did not say). However, he would still be obligated to share information with the heirs-at-law. There are other tactical moves that he might make that might affect you negatively. You should discuss these with someone who regularly practices in this area before you do anything.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
It would be in your best interest to make an appointment with and attorney and let the attorney see the entire picture.
Darrell B. Reynolds,
Attorney and Counselor at Law
2385 Lawrenceville Highway, Ste D
Decatur, Ga. 30033
1 lawyer agrees