What do I do if the executor refuses to give me what was willed to me? How? 15 Answers as of September 14, 2015

After my father died, my brother, who I believe is named executor in his will, refuses to give me what was willed to me. He also refuses to provide me with a copy of the will or anything that would give me knowledge of and/or a right to, the value of his estate. I'm sure the majority, if not his entire estate, was to be split equally between us as he always stated this while he was living. Also, I believe the contents of which is primarily cash. At the time of his death, he was not living in the same state as me and was actually living with my brother. I have no idea where to begin or how to proceed as I have repeatedly asked my brother for my inheritance and a copy of the will but he still refuses to comply. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

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Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
First off check with the circuit court in the county in which your father lived to see if an estate has been opened in his name (that is the only way anything titled in your father's name can be transferred to his beneficiaries). Other than that It will be extremely hard for you to obtain a copy of the will if your brother is unwilling to comply.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/14/2015
Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C.
Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C. | Richard M. Levy
Retain an attorney to fight for your rights in Surrogate's Court.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/10/2015
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
An executor of a Will actually has very limited powers; it really is just a statement by the person who prepared the Will that they want that person to handle the estate, but in fact they can not sell or distribute the assets. The Will must be filed with the probate court in the state where the assets are located; any interested party, including potential heirs or creditors can file to open probate. The court then appoints an administrator of the Will to handle, with the court's approval [actually, the court goes along with what the administrator asks if there is no opposition filed], the payment of debts and distribution of assets. An executor who refused to give potential heirs a copy of the Will, distributed assets, did not open probate, etc., is unlikely to be appointed administrator if there is any opposition by a potential heir. Tell your brother if he does not shape up you will file for probate and get the court to order him to return all the assets and fine him for anything he did wrong. Read the Nolo Press books on estates and trusts that are written in easy to understand language and should be in your local public library.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/10/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Executors have several responsibilities and notifying heirs is the first one. Since you didn't get notice, it seems more likely that he didn't file the probate and didn't get appointed as executor, instead he's simply stealing everything that he can get his hands on. I would advise you to speak with a probate lawyer in the area where your father lived.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/10/2015
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
In Maryland, probate is generally a process open to the public (open records) so you may want to contact the Register of Wills in your father's county to investigate what has (or has not) been going on with the estate administration. One can obtain a copy of the will and other documents in the probate file at the Register of Wills office. If you have been denied your rights as an interested person or have a claim against the personal representative, then you may need to address that with the Orphans' (probate) Court.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 9/9/2015
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    A will is to be filed within 30 days of the date of death. As an interested person you can open a probate of the estate and seek to be appointed as representative. If there is a Will that would force your brother to file it and claim nomination as the representative. He would then have to explain why he did not file sooner. If no Will then the assets are distributed according to the statute on descent and distribution which states: if a living spouse and children then the spouse receives ? and the children receive equal shares of the remaining half, any descendants of a predeceased child receive the share the predeceased child would have received if alive; if no living spouse then the children equally divide the entire estate with the descendants of a predeceased child receiving the share the predeceased child would have received if alive. The representative has the right to collect the assets of the estate that existed on the date of death. The representative can also seek to collect assets that the deceased could claim if alive. Even if another sibling is appointed representative you would be able to require close judicial supervision of the estate and force the representative to collect and distribute assets.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/9/2015
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    You can get a copy of the will from the court where it was filed (The place of death.) You may need a lawyer in that state to enforce your rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2015
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    You don't say how long ago your father passed away so I will assume it is fairly recently. If there is a will, it should be filed with the probate court in the county in which your father lived at the time of his death. The court will then issue Letters of Appointment to the designated executor which gives him or her the legal authority to settle the estate. Check with the probate court (often a division of the county court) to see what is filed. You can also file a request to receive notice when any action is taken or any report is filed regarding the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/9/2015
    Law Office of Peatsa C. Wallace | Peatsa C. Wallace
    If your brother was named as Executor of your father's estate, he is under a duty to probate your father's will in the state and county of your father's domicile. If your brother has probated the will, then you may obtain a copy of the will from the probate court in which it was filed. Wills, once probated, become public records. In Georgia, if you are a beneficiary in your father's will, then you are entitled and were supposed to have receive a copy of your father's will and a copy of the Petition to Probate Will. Since you are an heir of your father's estate, then you are supposed to sign an Acknowledgement form agreeing to your brother being appointed as Executor or filing a claim opposing your brother's appointment as Executor. So the first place to start is with the Probate Court in which your brother filed the Will. Ask if your father's estate has been opened and, if so, ask for a copy of his will. Your question did not address whether you live in Georgia or whether your father had lived in Georgia and was only temporarily staying with your brother. I also did not see in which state your brother lives in. The issue of your father's domicile will also depend on your father's intent and will determine which state his will should be probated in. I recommend that you contact an attorney to discuss these matters.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/9/2015
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    You should should seek the services of a probate attorney who has litigation experience.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2015
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Nobody is "executor" (the current term is "personal representative") until they are appointed by the court. Once they are appointed by the court, the whole probate is public record, and the personal representative has to account to all the heirs and devisees and the court for everything that happens. Frequently, the named personal representative doesn't open probate, so none of this good stuff ever happens. You need to contact a lawyer in the state where you father died and start looking into what is happening.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/9/2015
    The Bryan Law Firm, L.L.C.
    The Bryan Law Firm, L.L.C. | Douglas L. Bryan
    Your option would be to file suit. You can file to open the succession and probate the will, if the executor hasn't done so, or sue the executor and/or the estate if he's refusing to place you in possession of what you're entitled to.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/9/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    I would suggest that you engage an attorney and provide details in order that some form of rational opinion can be reached. What your father said during your life, or last said to you, may not be relevant, the real question is his last will and testament or how his assets were titled at the moment of his death. Wills are not contractual, and can be changed at any time as long as the party who changes them has contractual ability and intent.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/9/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    You need to contact and possibly retain legal counsel where your father died to see your options. It will probably require a demand letter and possibly court intervention. This is opinion is solely based upon the facts presented in the inquiry. Additional facts may be important and may change the analysis. If you are uncertain, seek legal counsel. We are not your attorneys. This answer is being offered to assist you in determining if you need to retain legal counsel to assist you, not to resolve your issue through an email inquiry.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/9/2015
    Robert E. Giffin | Robert E. Giffin CPA
    Check with the Probate court in the county where your father died.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 9/9/2015
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