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What rights to I have as an heir to order a full accounting or an estate?

Tewksbury, MA |

My brother is executor of my Dad's will. The house isn't part of the estate but cash in the amount of $74K is. After all immed. expenses of the estate were paid incl funeral costs etc. there was roughly $42K left to divide between 4 heirs. My brother is spending some of this at his discretion without discussion. He hasn't consulted with 2 of the 4 heirs, yet continues to spend. We were deeded the house equally outside of the estate, yet he pays himself for upkeep which also was never agreed upon, we were all to take part. Basically he is not seperating estate from the property outside of the estate.What can I do to get a full accounting and transparency. He has even paid cash for services and reimbursed himself out of the estate, and refuses to show bank proof of withdrawal from his acct.

Do I have the right to see the current status of accounts, checks written or any information regarding the current amount still in the estate? I have requested this information and I quote; " i am handling the estate stay out of it. no spread sheets no nothing it will be divided equally when the court closes it really no more q's regarding the estate i am done w/that " - is this acceptable to my request? thanks I just want to know if I have a legal right to see the spending and balances since I am an heir to an equally divided estate and it is legal for him to deny me... thank you

Attorney Answers 2


As an executor, your brother will be required to file an accounting for the estate with the probate court. As an heir you will have the opporutinty to object to his accounting. Unfortuantely, by the time the accounting is filed, he may have spent the money that you feel should not have been paid to him. As an executor, he is not required to consult with the heirs on payments of justifiable expenses of the estate. However, upkeep of a property which passed outside of your mother's estate, is not an acceptable expense.

You do have the option of hiring an attorney to protect your interests. Please keep in mind that due to the fact that you would receive approximately $10,000, it may not make sense financially. Your brother would also hire an attorney for the estate. An estate attorney's costs are paid from the estate proceeds. Once you hire an attorney, the relationship between you and your siblings may be irreparably harmed.

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I agree with the prior attorney except that if your brother is wasting estate assets you have no choice to retain counsel. If he has not acted prudently, you can bring a surcharge action to recover losses that resulted from his conduct. You would ultimately be able to get at his portion of the real estate as part of your recovery, so it may be more worthwhile to pursue this matter than the prior opinion indicated. To know for sure, you should at least meet with an estate litigation attorney to discuss this matter face to face in more detail.

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