Q: I am presented with receipt and release to release the executor. I don't trust her. Do I have to sign?
I don't have a formal complaint. But what if I find out months after I sign that she stole from the estate?.
A: Prior to signing a receipt and release of the Executor (or Personal Representative), a beneficiary of the estate has the opportunity to review a detailed accounting of the estate. An accounting should set forth the probate assets and the payments made by the estate. These payments can include things like funeral/burial expenses, taxes, legal fees, payments to the Executor (or Personal Representative) and other debts owed by the person who passed away. If the estate had assets to satisfy these expenses, distributions to beneficiaries in accordance with the Will should also be stated.
A beneficiary of the estate has an opportunity to question and call before the probate court the details set forth in the accounting. If questions exist, it is advisable to obtain legal counsel to aid in bringing your concerns before the probate court. If it turns out your mistrust if supported by fact, then the matter should be settled by the probate court. Generally, a beneficiary has one year to bring such a question. If a beneficiary waits too long, then this opportunity is lost.
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