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What happens when the administrator of an estate makes financial mistakes.

Chicago, IL |

I am the administrator of an estate that was in probate. We can now close the estate and final checks can be distributed; however, there is not enough money left in the account to fufill this obligation. There have been two partial distributions made to the heirs previously but they are still due more money.

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Attorney answers 3


Your question is unclear. After the payment of debts, were there insufficient funds to pay specific bequests? In that case, the bequests are apportioned based upon the amount of the net estate and the beneficiary's share of total bequests. Or were some beneficiaries overpaid at the expense of others? In that event, you would have the right to request the overpayments back.


You are in a difficult situation. The question is what happened to the resources of the estate. Was the money spent on bills and other legitimate expenses? or was the money used incorrectly?

You need to answer those questions first, before we can answer your question. Do you have an accountant who can help you to figure out where the money went? I strongly urge you to work with an accountant to do an inventory and accounting of the estate. The accountant will know what to do. Once the inventory and the accounting of the estate are completed, I would strongly urge you to contact an estate attorney in your area who will be able to help you work this problem out with the heirs.

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Why is there no enough money left to pay the full distributions? Have you overspent on some items, has the cost of administration exceeded your expectations, have you taken any loans or borrowed money from the estate? No estate in cook county closes without an inventory and a final accounting. If an accountant cannot help you find the missing money or your attorney (I assume you had one?), then the surety bond company (which I hope you have) may pay the outstanding claim for distribution but they will ask you for the missing money after all is said and done.
Note that nothing in this response is to be construed as legal advice but rather as a guideline from which you should begin to seek professional advice. Further, no attorney-cleint relationship exists between us. Rather you seek such a relationship with a lawyer in your state and jurisdiction who can give you more specific advice.