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What to do about an evasive executor?

Greenwich, CT |

My wife's sister is the executor of the will for their father who recently passed away. My wife asked about the will and was handed a "boilerplate" type last will and testament document. There are names of witnessed and legal counsel named ( Commissioner of Superior Court) but no signatures. How do we best proceed to get an actual copy of the will and determine status of probate in CT. Also how can one determine if accounting of assets and expenses were properly handled.

I have tracked down the attorney who's name is listed on the document but has no signature. I've left a message for him to call me on Monday. If this attorney truly handled this filing he should be able to fill in all the details?? What if this attorney claims he isn't aware/have this document gave to us by my wife's sister?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

You said that your father in law "recently" passed away. Under CT law, anyone in possession of a will must deliver it to the executor. if the executor has it, he or she must deliver it to the Probate Court within 30 days of the decedent's death. If the will was filed with the Court, you can go there and look at it. Under CT law, executors have 60 days to file a list of asset with the Court, called an "inventory." Accountings are only filed when estates are closed. CT has a statute that allows formal accountings to be dispensed with in some circumstances.

All wills, inventories and accountings are public record.

I wish you well with this.

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Posted

There is not enough information to properly make suggestions to you. Provided an estate has been filed, your wife would be entitled to notice of the estate, as well as a copy of the Will. Presumably, the original Will was filed with the court and a copy is what was sent to you. Assuming this is the case, (and assuming that your wife is a beneficiary under the Will), you would also be entitled to copies of the Inventory and any accountings prepared as a part of the probate administration. Determining whether the administration was properly handled or not is a bit more problematic. Generally, if an attorney is involved, he or she will attempt to make sure that everything is handled correctly. He or she will not risk his or her law license to assist a client in engaging in unlawful activity.

If an estate has been filed, but you are not sure that you have been sent all of the documents you are entitled to, you may be able to check the probate file online, or to contact the court and request copies. (Probate files are generally part of the public record).

If there is no estate filed, and all of the assets have passed outside of probate, (by way of joint tenancy or beneficiary designations), then your situation could be much more complicated, as you are likely to be somewhat at the mercy of the person "handling" the "estate." If this is your situation, then you need to tread much more carefully. Open communication with your sister-in-law then becomes far more crucial.

James Frederick

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