What should I do if money was unknowingly taken from the estate? How? 8 Answers as of September 14, 2015

My father died recently. As the executor (my sister, Judy) got an attorney to do the will. My other sister told me that Judy took money out of his account and put it in another account. When I confronted her, she said no, and that she had a stock worth $20,000 that the attorney did not know about and not to tell them because it would take even longer. I thought about it and remember she had to take it out before she even hired him? Should I report this? Will they not let her know I was the one to tell? Does the attorney go back to day of death or even before death? Is it possible to get passed the attorney? I assumed it is actually more, since I was informed out of indirectly feeling as she was forced to say something. Kind of like to keep me quiet. And if that was the case, the amount is probably more. May be a little to some but a lot to me.

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Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
There is not enough info in this question for me to properly answer it. Is stock that is worth $20,000 owned by your father? If so was it addressed in the will? Once an attorney is hired, attorney - client privilege kicks in and remains past death. If you are looking to receive your share of what is due you, you should probably report the stock to the attorney.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/14/2015
Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
When I do an estate, I require the last income tax return (stocks show up because they pay dividends and have gains and losses), I also require statements on all account (bank accounts, investment accounts). This will usually show any asset owned by the deceased.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/9/2015
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
It is almost impossible to transfer title to stock without a probate. I would report it and keep everything above board.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/8/2015
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
The attorney was retained to open an estate to probate the will. The representative that was appointed is bound to collect all of the assets of the decedent as of the date of death, pay all claims and distribute assets pursuant to the terms of the will. The representative can also seek to collect assets that the decedent could collect if alive. The representative is supposed to provide the legatees with an inventory of the estate. If known assets were converted by the representative and not deposited into an estate account that act is a breach of fiduciary responsibility to the estate.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 9/8/2015
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
At the end of the probate process, your sister is going to have to account for what she did as personal representative. If she leaves things out of the probate process, her account shouldn't balance. Unless she's good at cheating. If she's good at cheating, how will you ever know whether you've gotten your fair share? Incidentally, it doesn't take any longer to do probate right than to do it wrong. Doing things right the first time is the best way to get a good outcome in the shortest amount of time.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 9/8/2015
    Law Office of T. Phillip Boggess | T. Phillip Boggess
    If you are very concerned, you should have the case changed to a supervised probate. You may even want to get another person to do a full accounting on the estate. As for the attorney not knowing all the assets, the attorney would have no reason to know what was in the estate beyond what was told to him/her. It would be rare that the attorney would sift through all the documents, mail, etc. to determine what is in an estate. It would also be quite a bill with the hours that would require. This is the job of the executor. The executor should provide an inventory of the estate and then a full accounting. This would be a detailed record of everything coming into the estate and leaving the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/8/2015
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    One of the duties of the executor is to gather all of the deceased's assets, including financial assets. Usually the executor opens a new checking account in the estate's name, transfers all the decedent's money into it, and uses it to pay off all of the creditors and heirs. It is possible that that is what your sister was doing. The attorney for the executor is responsible for helping the executor complete the required reports and notices. Both usually only have authority to act after a probate court has reviewed the will and named the executor. As an immediate family member, you should receive a number of estate documents, including financial reports, that the executor must submit to the court. After reviewing these, if you still feel that something has been done incorrectly, you should contact the probate judge.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/7/2015
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    You will have to decide whether to say anything or not. There is probably a way you could send the attorney an anonymous letter giving the information. I imagine that you are correct that there is more that you do not know about. A person who will cheat on one thing is more likely to be cheating on others. One thing you could do is hire an attorney. The attorney could tell the other attorney about the missing assets and encourage (or demand) a full investigation both pre and post death. The attorney can keep your identity confidential. The fact that another attorney is involved will make the information more credible and more likely to spur action.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/7/2015
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