What should my wife do to get her share back. We were keep a balance to continue to pay off bills and to have a cushion for taxes. He did this without my wife's consent or knowledge.
If one party is clearly acting without the consent of the other, refuses to stop acting alone, and/or attempts to hide or conceal their actions, Georgia probate law requires the other co-executor to take the issue before the probate court once he or she knows what is happening. The reason that the non-bad acting co-executor must take the matter to the probate court is because each co-executor owes fiduciary duties to the estate. If the actions of one co-executor are harming the estate and the other co-executor does nothing, then the co-executor that allows the harm to happen is no better than the one who caused the problem. In addition, taking the matter before the probate court is one of the only ways that the innocent co-executor can make sure that he or she does not wind up liable for the bad actions of the other co-executor. If the innocent co-executor does not bring an action in probate court to stop the other co-executor from taking inappropriate actions, then both co-executors can be liable.
Seek removal of the brother as co-executor. Bring that action to the probate court that made the original appointment of them as co-executors. Best to have an estate attorney assist you.
I'm sorry to hear you're having some trouble.
The question implies some problems that probably went back to the opening of the estate account itself. Theoretically, co-executors must act unanimously in everything they do, unless one has granted a power of attorney to the other. An estate account with co-executors should have required two signatures on a check.
For the same reason, Ms. Carter's response to this question is right on target. The withdrawing brother should not have acted alone, and his doing so may present grounds for his removal. Your wife is entitled to an explanation of what he did with the funds and an of where they are now held. I'd contact him directly, asking for this. If they're simply in another estate account somewhere, then it might be possible to get things back on even keel.
If the funds have been converted to personal use, a petition should be filed in probate court for the brother's removal. This is usually the province of lawyers, and I'd recommend speaking with one right away.
Best of luck.
No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by this communication. This answer is to be considered as a general discussion of legal principals and is NOT LEGAL ADVICE. If the asker seeks specific legal advice, he should retain an attorney, who will naturally take the time to consider all aspects of the case and perform any necessary legal research.
Assuming that the court appointed them as Co-executors and the bank account for the estate was set up requiring two signatures, she should go to the bank and have the withdrawal reversed as being improper. If that fails, she should file a Petition to Remove Executor with the probate court. Once he is removed, she should file suit against him in the Superior Court in the county where he resides. There are certainly less extreme positions to take, but this is ultimately what will need to be done if he is uncooperative.
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