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How long does an executors of a will have to settle the estate?

Magnolia, NJ |

My Grandmother passed away Sept 2006 she had stock she wanted left to me and my siblings my aunt who is exector of her estate didn't transfer these stocks to me until April 28,2011. When my grandmother died the stock was valued at $40.00 a share. Since than the stock has dropped to under $20 per share my intentions were to sell the stock now I will get 1/2 the amount for the shares is my aunt liable for the loss I will now take on the stock?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. This is a very tough question to answer. The exeuctrix has a fiduciary duty to preserve the assets of the estate and to invest them prudently. This standard can be hard to apply when it comes to investments, especially in a very volatile stock market during the time frame in question. What you must prove is based on the totality of the financial and factual setting of this estate was she prudent in holding such securities or should she have sold them at a more opportune moment. The only way to determine this would be through an analysis of the actual estate assets, expenses, financial activities, etc. You need to retain an estates attorney to review the conduct of the executrix to determine whether there is an action for breach of fiduciary duty. The facts really matter here, so no one at this forum can give you a definitive answer.

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    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.


  2. Their may be a breach of fiduciary duty depending on the circumstances. You should speak with a competent professional to determine if this is a matter that is worth litigating. Questions they will ask is regarding the aggregate loss that the estate suffered and what options were presented and whether anyone placed any notice regarding the prospective sale of the security. We offer free, confidential consultations at (800) 9100-LAW. Best of luck to you.

    Please note by answering this question there is no attorney-client relationship formed. I am not your attorney. Nothing I said in this reply can or should be relied on. In order to rely on counsel's advise you must retain that attorney and receive representation or an official opinion letter. This is neither and meant to be for general informational purposes. Your case has specific nuances that goes beyond what you wrote and what I answered and you must speak directly with counsel to advise you of your rights.


  3. While there is no set time frame for the administration of an estate most can typically be settled in 12 to 24 months. Given that you are well beyond this tine frame you should probably consult with an attorney to determine you best next step. If I can be of assistance please contact me.

    Ed Smeltzer

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    Law Office of Edward J. Smeltzer II
    180B Tices Lane, Suite 103
    East Brunswick, NJ 08816
    Phone: 732-246-3131

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.

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