If a mistake was made then the heirs should absolutely consult and retain an attorney to assist them in seeking a remedy that either corrects the mistake or seeks a resolution that is better than just letting the mistake remain unresolved. Be prepared to discuss, to the best of your knowledge, with the lawyer how, when and why the mistake happened and the steps that have happened since discovery of the mistake and bring any documents you believe are relevant to the initial meeting.
I agree that you need a lawyer. The first thing the lawyer should do, after gathering all the relevant facts and getting familiar with the court file, is contact the charities to try to resolve the matter informally, appealing to them on a moral basis. If the charities refuse to do the right thing, then the case will have to be handled on a strict legal basis. Did you have notice of the hearing to approve the distribution? Were you entitled to notice? If so, it may be possible to get the court order set aside. If that avenue is blocked, the executor can be sued for improper distribution. If the executor is bonded, there will be a deep pocket to go after. If the will waived bond, you will have to hope the executor has enough assets to satisfy a judgment. As with all legal claims, you should not sit on this because of possible time limits on bringing a lawsuit.
Agree with Attorney Frederick You need to consult with an attorney for a thorough evaluation of the facts.
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Maybe. It might also be possible to sue the executor, administrator or personal representative for making such a colossal error. It would be very difficult to recover these funds unless the charity willingly returns them, which seems dubious, at best. There will almost certainly need to be a lawyer involved.
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