I am sorry for your loss. You and your siblings need to retain an experienced estate attorney to represent your interests and make sure your brother acts properly in connection with the estate administration. There really is no alternative when it comes to locking down a situation like this. 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 agree with Attorney Pankowski. Before this situation gets even more out of hand, you need to have a lawyer look into things to determine how to proceed. It may be that you will need to ask the court to remove your brother. It may be that your hiring a lawyer will force your brother to do the same. The good news in that is that his lawyer will let him know what he cannot do.
***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!
Time to lawyer up. First I would want to confirm he is in fact the executor (has a probate court officially named him). You may also then be able to access probate files to see the will and inventory. If you already are having issues, go to a lawyer right away to give this person a stern warning. Going to a lawyer early when you smell trouble also has the effect of better preserving assets in the case they would be mismanaged and you decide 2 years from now that something was amiss. People that act in this manner usually do not respond to anything other than a lawyer, that's just my experience.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/
In my experience unreasonable failure to disclose assets and information is an indication of wrongful motive and a likelihood of mismanagement. A well advised executor who wants to carry out his fiduciary duties properly and with a minimum of controversy will keep beneficiaries informed of the assets and liabilities of the estate to the extent they are known and will tell them what procedure to expect. However, it is not usually reasonable to expect that information within two weeks of the date of death. Counsel for the executor will advise your brother that he does not have the right or power to sell real estate that the Will leaves to you and your siblings. He cannot get that right and power unless the estate is insolvent and the probate court authorizes him to sell the real estate after he files a petition and the court holds a hearing on that petition. You would be entitled to notice of that proceeding. If your brother persists in withholding information and doing anything else that seems to be a violation of his duty of good faith or if you feel significantly uneasy about the executor, then engage a lawyer who can work in probate court.
These comments do not constitute legal advice. They are general comments on the circumstances presented, and may not be applicable to your situation. For legal advice on which you may rely consult your own lawyer.
Get yourself a lawyer. Things aren't going to get any better unless you do.
If you would like a consultation, call (865) 522-9000 to make an appointment. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.