Richmond, VA asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Virginia

Q: Mom passed and half sister is executor. She is keeping all records to herself. Does she have to disclose records to us?

Half sister's name was added to moms bank acct after dad passed, so she says the money is hers. Is this true even if the will states all assets are to be distributed evenly to all heirs? She says low bank balance, but I know otherwise. Are we able to view bank records? Shouldn't she have to disclose records to us?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James D. Williams
James D. Williams
  • Richmond, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: This definitely is going to be something to discuss with an attorney who regularly works with probate.

The executor has control over personal property for the payment of debts, taxes, etc., but there is generally a fiduciary duty that the executor refrain from self-dealing. The executor would be given access to accounts as the executor of the estate, but this would not be the personal capacity of the family member.

Executors have an accounting requirement for probate which includes an inventory of all of the assets/debts, etc. of the estate and they must present that, and it's reviewed. There is a requirement that the executor notify the beneficiaries that they have qualified for a portion of the estate, but it's not quite the same as them having to disclose all of the financial records as you've asked.

If you have proof that the person is not acting in their capacity as executor and is transferring property that directly contradicts what the will says, then it would be something to discuss with an attorney. Specifically, you would want to find an attorney that specializes in fiduciary litigation because they know about the duties of executors and personal representatives for estates.

For basic questions, you can talk to the clerk of the circuit court where your mother's estate is being handled or the commissioner of accounts, there.

Henrico County Commissioner of Accounts has a handy resource. Check it out here:,or%20in%20the%20case%20of

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