Written by attorney Sharon M. Siegel

The Executor Stole Estate Property

What is your legal relief when the Executor stole estate property?

Your legal relief is to bring a petition to compel a turnover proceeding. This type of proceeding can be brought in connection with an accounting proceeding or on its own. The Surrogate's Court can compel a fiduciary (executor or administrator) to turn over estate property. If the fiduciary has absconded with estate property, the Surrogate's Court can direct the fiduciary, or anyone else holding property, to deliver it to the fiduciary or even the court. It is clearly within the Surrogate's jurisdiction to moniter the fiduciary and and his or her possesion or control of assets.

However, practically speaking, once an asset is gone, it is very hard to recover it. It may be sold, spent, or converted. Thus, you must see a lawyer ASAP and often times simply bringing this type of proceeding is enough to scare a fiduciary from stealing estate property. Before commencing a turnover (or any proceeding) proceeding, you must evaluate your ability to collect.

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