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My dad died and brother is executor!

Chattanooga, TN |

My Dad just died two weeks ago and my brother is the executor. He will not tell us (the siblings) what is in my dads lock box at the bank so how can I find this out and also he says he is not selling the house our dad left to all of us in his will (to share and share alike) , and he is not letting us know how or where the money is and my father was not poor. Please Help!

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Attorney answers 5


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.

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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.

James Frederick

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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:


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.

Good luck.

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