In New York, an estate executor has certain duties to the estate and the beneficiaries of the deceased person’s will or trust. These duties include collecting the estate’s assets, paying the estate’s debts, distributing the assets according to the will or trust, and paying the cost of administrating the estate such as attorney fees and court filing fees. However, some personal representatives may take advantage of their position by stealing from the estate.
What to Do if an Executor Is Stealing From an Estate
If you are a beneficiary of a will or trust that is being administered in New York, you have options if you believe the executor is stealing from the estate or otherwise not performing his duties properly. You can file a petition in court and can ask the judge to take one or more of the following actions:
- Remove the executor. You can request that the personal representative be removed. If there is a co-personal representative, you can ask that he act alone. If not, you will need to request that another person be appointment.
- Provide an accounting. Another option is to ask that the executor provide an accounting. If he is ordered to do so, the executor must provide a detailed accounting of the assets of the estate and expenses that were paid on behalf of the estate during the accounting period.
- Surcharge the executor. If you determine that the personal representative has been stealing with the estate after reviewing the accounting, you can request that a surcharge be imposed in the amount of the funds that were stolen. If the executor was required to obtain a bond, the bond’s surety may have to pay the surcharge.
- Require a bond. A bond is insurance for the estate that protects the estate from any breach of duty by the executor. If you suspect that the executor is stealing or otherwise not properly fulfilling his duties, you can request that he obtain a bond.
- Reverse a transaction. If you discover that the executor stole assets from the estate, another option is to file a Discovery and Turnover petition to reverse the transfer and return the assets to the estate.
If you are a beneficiary of an estate and suspect the executor is stealing, the experienced estate litigation attorneys at Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group, P.C. can help you prove the executor’s theft and take aggressive legal action on your behalf. We represent clients in New York City, Stanton Island, Queens, and Long Island, so call us today, or fill out our online form.