What Can Be Done to Force an Executor to Finalize an Estate?

By Maggie Lourdes

An executor is a person appointed by a probate court to administer a decedent's estate. An executor has a legal duty to gather all estate assets for distribution to a decedent's beneficiaries and heirs. She must always act in good faith and deal expeditiously on behalf of the estate. An executor is obligated to finalize an estate by turning over estate assets to the heirs and giving a final accounting to the court.

Forcing Executors to Finalize Estates

Only parties with legal standing can force an executor to finalize an estate. Individuals with a legal interest in an estate have standing. Examples of interested parties would be beneficiaries and heirs, or conservators or guardians named in a will. An interested person first must come forward to force an executor's hand to finalize an estate.

Gathering Information

An interested party can gather information to prove an executor's inefficiency if he believes the estate is being mismanaged. He can request that the executor disclose all the actions taken while handling the estate's business. If the executor refuses to cooperate, he should hire an attorney should to make a formal request for the information. If an estate closes within one year it is usually not considered overdue.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Making a Demand

An interested party can make a written demand to finalize an estate directly to an inefficient executor. Making the demand through an attorney can be stronger and may get a quicker result. The demand should outline proof that the executor is neglecting his role. It may also set a deadline for finalization of the estate to avoid legal action.

Seeking Court Intervention

If an executor refuses to finalize an estate after a written demand, the interested party should contact the probate court and request a hearing to close the estate. This is done by filing a motion along with evidence that the executor neglected his duty to finalize the probate file. The motion and the hearing date must be served on the executor and all other interested parties in the estate. The complaining party and his attorney must attend the hearing to orally argue why the executor should be ordered to finalize the estate. The judge can then issue an order forcing the executor to do so.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Does the Executor Have Authority Over the Will?


Related articles

How to Contest the Handling of an Estate in North Carolina

Probate is often a difficult and contentious process. Emotions can run high, with grief at the forefront. Under the circumstances, it can be easy enough to come to the conclusion that the executor of your loved one’s estate is mishandling it. You have recourse if you’re correct: North Carolina law allows you to ask that the executor of the estate be removed from office.

Kentucky Executor Checklist

In Kentucky, the executor is the person named in a will to manage the estate of a deceased person, known as the decedent. If there is no will or no executor is named, an administrator manages the estate. The executor's or administrator's duties include paying the estate's remaining debts and distributing its assets to the heirs and beneficiaries. An executor's duties begin with locating the will.

Do Executors Have to Give an Accounting to Beneficiaries?

An executor, sometimes called a personal representative, is an individual appointed by a probate court to administer a decedent's estate. An executor's job is to take control of the estate's assets and distribute them to the decedent's beneficiaries. An executor must also provide an accounting of all assets and distributions for the court and beneficiaries.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

What Happens When the Executor of the Will Steals the Money?

Estate beneficiaries must move quickly if the estate executor is stealing. State laws set a window during which heirs ...

How to Prove an Estate Is Insolvent in Connecticut

When a person dies, his or her debts do not simply go “poof” and disappear. If an estate has any assets, all debts must ...

How Do I End My Obligations From Being the Executor of a Will?

An executor is responsible for carrying out a will's written directions and settling the final affairs of the will's ...

Failure to Execute Fiduciary Responsibilities as an Executor of a Will

An executor is not guilty of misconduct if he does not get along with the will’s beneficiaries or puts the estate’s ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED