Oneida, TN asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee

Q: What can I do if the executor is stealing from the estate?

My dad passed away and named his current wife as executor in the will. The will states she doesn't have to do an inventory. I am an heir listed in the will. She has given most of the estate to her family members who are not listed as beneficiaries in the will. The will is still in probate. It has only been in probate for about 2 months. One of the family members felt guilty about receiving goods (around $12,000 worth) from the estate and called me. I went to the lawyer who is handling the probate and told him she was stealing from the estate and he got angry with me and told me to "get a lawyer" and he would see me in court. The will says if any part is contested I get nothing. I don't want to contest the will. Who protects the will if the executor is stealing or hiding assets? Also, is it contesting the will to challenge the executor or ask to have her removed?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Thomas Walter Tucker
Thomas Walter Tucker
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Franklin, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: You need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Based on your statements, your step mother is violating her fiduciary duties as the executor by distributing the estate property not in accordance with the will. You need to consider asking the court to remove and replace her with a new executor and attempt to recover the improperly distributed property. You do not need to contest the will to do this.

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