What can I do if executor of will refuses to give me my inheritance? 15 Answers as of August 26, 2013

My mother died in 1999 and appointed my eldest sister as Executor of her will. One of the items Mom included was a piano I had purchased at the age of ten, but was being stored in her home. The irony here is that Mom put it in her will so my sister/executor wouldn't get her hands on it. I was also to be given her Kenmore sewing machine in it's cabinet, with it's matching chair, and several other items. Through the years, I have attempted to collect those items, but my sister kept refusing to honor my and the court's requests. I recently learned that she sold my piano and denies even having the other items. She claims the will had an expiration date. The case went to probate and when it came time to close, my sister tried to make me sign a paper stating that I'd received everything I'd inherited. I refused because she still had my property, but she got the lawyer to close the file anyway, without my signature! Years later, I've still received nothing. She refuses to speak to me in a civil manner and hangs up on me.

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Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
You will have to file a case in probate court to try to get your property.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/26/2013
Durkin Law, P.C.
Durkin Law, P.C. | Roger Durkin
You have to file a complaint in the county probate court where the will will filed.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/7/2013
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
It is unlikely you will recover the piano if too much time has passed. However, you can try to reopen the case with an attorney and explain to the judge what happened and go from there.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/6/2013
Rockhill Pinnick LLP | Jay Rigdon
If the will was probated, meaning that it was filed with the court and recognized as your mother's will, then the will is binding and has no "expiration date". If you were given items in the will that your sister has kept from you, you need to hire an attorney to sue for their return.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 8/6/2013
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
You would need to petition a court to require her to turn over the items. However, so much time has passed that the statute of limitations has probably run out.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 8/6/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    You will need to reopen the probate case and pursue sanctions and damages against your sister. At the very least, she has probably lied to the court and breached her fiduciary duty as Executor.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2013
    Law Office of Edward M. Burgh, APC | Edward M. Burgh
    Get a Probate Attorney in the County where she lived to ask the Probate Judge in the case. His/her fees are set by Statute.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    You probably need to file in the probate action. I urge you to speak with an attorney and provide copies of all of the paperwork that you have. The attorney will probably need to review the court file.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/6/2013
    Arthur H. Geffen, P.C.
    Arthur H. Geffen, P.C. | Arthur Geffen
    At this point you need to hire an attorney or at least get a courtesy local consultation to determine what your rights are after a professional looks at all the documents and correspondence you have.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/6/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    You have some practical problems, here. It is possible that your sister was able to claim the items in question to cover administrative expenses of the estate. The fact that she had a lawyer makes it less likely that she simply did whatever she wanted. In order to pursue this at all, you would need to re-open the estate. That will involve a filing fee of $150. Beyond that, since the piano is gone, there is no way you are going to be able to recover that. There is a possible action for "conversion," if you can prove that the piano was actually yours. The Will might make this somewhat more difficult, because it makes it sound like this belonged to your mother. There are added damages in cases of conversion. You also have a statute of limitations, however, so it is not clear if you have waited too long. You need to decide if this is worth it to you. If it is not, I would let it go. If it is, then you should consult with a probate attorney, as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/6/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    You may have passed the time limit when you can do anything. You should consult with an attorney specializing in estate litigation to determine if you have any rights.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/6/2013
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    You may be barred by a Statute of Limitations. You should have objected formally when she was trying to close the estate or soon after.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 8/6/2013
    Sanford M. Martin, P.A. | Sanford M. Martin
    The probate case should have resolved the issue. Review the probate order, Order of Discharge. If the court ordered such items belong to you, you may file a petition for enforcement of the order. If the court did not order that such items belong to you, you will have a difficult time. If you wish and the items are worth it, consult an attorney to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/6/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    I am afraid that you are probably too late. The time to protest was before the estate was closed. I would suggest, respectfully, that you accept the loss and move on as it is doubtful that the amount of loss which you have actually occurred, even with the property or its value was recovered that you would gain more than a litigation would cost you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/6/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    You can pretty much do nothing at this point. You needed to take all of this up while the estate was in probate. Why wait all these years later? You are going to have to let this one go and if the situation ever arises again, don't wait over 10 years to try and enforce your rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2013
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