who overseas the executor? what stops them from writing out checks from the estate to pay their own bills?Other than standard fees and postage are they intitled to expenses.Our executor is not showing us in black and white where the the money is going. What do we do ? We have yet to see the will.
You do not state whether the estate has been opened in probate court or not. If not, then there is no one watching the executor at all. Of course, no one has legal authority to do anything with the estate until it is opened and the executor is officially given letters of authority from the court.
This all assumes that there are assets that NEED to be probated. If the assets were all jointly owned, or if there was a beneficiary designated for them, then probate will not be required, and it makes no difference what the Will says, in most cases.
Once an executor is appointed, they are entitled to reimbursement for ALL out of pocket expenses. They are also generally entitled to compensation for their services to the estate. Most states require that the compensation be "reasonable", but they do not specify what that means.
In almost all cases, the executor is required to prepare an Inventory for the estate, listing the date of death value of all probate assets. The executor usually must also provide a final account to all interested parties, which lists all income and expenses that have accrued during the administration of the estate.
Normally, once an estate is open, the first thing that the executor does is send a copy of the Will to all of the interested parties. The fact that you have not received one suggests that either there is no Will, or the estate has not been opened.
If you have questions and concerns and the executor is not cooperating, as a last resort, you can always petition the probate court for the information you are supposed to receive. Of course, the court would only be involved if an estate has actually been opened.
Good luck to you!
Estate Planning Attorney
The executor is merely "nominated" until he has been appointed by the probate court. If he is using the estate's money unlawfully, you need to petition the Court to have him removed as executor (or to have him produce an "accounting" of the estate's assets, liabilities, income, and expenses).
I suggest you contact a knowledgeable probate lawyer as soon as possible to find out the best way to proceed - especially since it sounds as if he is acting without any Court authority.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
Wills and Living Wills Lawyer
Once probate is opened, the Executor (or Personal Representative as it is known in Florida) is required to conduct an accounting of the estate assets. He / she also has a duty to protect assets and pay creditors accordingly. If you believe the Personal Representative is violating his/her fiduciary duty and you are a beneficiary of the estate, you can petition the court to have him/her removed. If Probate has not yet been opened, you can also Petition the court to force probate. If there are multiple beneficiaries, Florida courts will require an attorney as mandated by the Florida Probate Code.
THe executor, is under court supervision. That being said, each beneficiary should watch what is being done with the reports filed with the court. If you are concerned you will not want to waive or consent to the final accounting.