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May I file a claim against a probate estate if I'm a beneficiary?

Little Rock, AR |

Due to complexities (mostly costs) associated with removing the negligent Executor, I'm considering simply filing at least one claim against the estate. The probate estate has been open for almost 2 years and the notice to creditors was just published three months ago. Can I file claims such as legal fees, stolen property (that the executor stole from me), inventory and accounting errors the executor made, labor to remodel and sell the probated house, etc.? Is there some list of what I can and cannot file a claim for?

The executor is refusing to pay me my part of the estate funds until I sign a release that releases the executor of all liability. Since the executor has been extremely negligent, I don't want to sign that. May I file a claim against the estate for my portion? Thanks

Would I have to appear in court regarding the claims? I live 2,000 miles away from the probate court and they don't have a method for me to appear by phone.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

These would not be considered proper "claims" against the estate. You can certainly complain to the court about the executor. Many states do not allow distributions to be conditioned on a release of claims. Practically, however, the executor is entitled to a legal defense of claims against him/her. If all the funds are distributed, then there is no money left for this defense. So there is a practical reason for the executor to request this. If you are intent on contesting the actions of the executor, then you obviously would not want to sign this form. Instead, I would contact an attorney who can bring your complaints to the attention of the court.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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Posted

Claims against the estate are for services, etc. prior to death. There may be other avenues you can select - but you should consult an attorney in the jursidiction where the estate is pending for assistance.

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Posted

Attorneys Frederick and McMahon are correct. I would strongly urge you to retain an attorney to assist you with this matter in the probate court. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.

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