If you are the heir in a will or beneficiary of a trust, you are entitled to those assets in a prompt and timely manner. But sometimes, a trustee or executor drags his or her feet on distributing the assets that you deserve. Regardless of the reason, you have a right to compel distribution of what you are rightfully owed, and an experienced probate attorney is your best chance at success. The Inheritance Recovery Attorneys understand the frustration and confusion that comes when you are not given what you are owed from an estate, and we are here to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a free consultation of your case.
Typical Timing of a Probated Estate
Probate for a typical estate can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more after a person passes away, so it is important to note that receiving assets immediately after someone’s passing is incredibly rare. First, the executor of the estate must find the will and file it with the probate court. Next, the executor must do a complete inventory of the assets and debts of the deceased and perform a valuation on all items that may be distributed through the will or trust. The executor then pays off all debts and taxes on the estate before distributing what is left to the named heirs and beneficiaries. Depending on when the deceased passed away, this could mean waiting until the following year to distribute an estate after the previous year’s taxes are filed on the state and federal level.
However, if the executor or trustee in your case is not adhering to the typical time schedule of probating the estate or committing other unethical acts, you may need to compel distribution of the estate in order to claim what is rightfully yours.
When Compelling Distribution is Necessary
There are many reasons why it might be necessary to compel distribution of an estate or trust. If the executor sits on a will and fails to submit it to probate, he or she is violating the fiduciary duty to the heirs of the estate. This also hurts the estate itself, as property taxes will continue to accrue on property and the value of other assets may fluctuate over time.
Another reason you may need to compel distribution is if you suspect the executor or trustee is committing fraud or other illegal acts with the estate. This can include commingling funds, taking estate assets, or mismanaging the estate to the point that it caused serious financial damage. In other situations, the executor may simply be lazy even though he has a fiduciary duty to act and administer the estate. Regardless of the reason, if an executor or trustee is not being forthcoming with the assets to which you are entitled, you should hire an experienced probate attorney as soon as possible to file a claim.
How to Compel Distribution of an Estate
The first step in compelling distribution of an estate is to request information about the probate process or distribution of trust funds. Sometimes, a simple request for information about estate assets, where they are in the probate process, and a timeline for distribution is enough to get the executor or trustee to move forward with distribution of the funds.
If that information is refused or inaccurate, the next step is filing a petition with the court. This can be a petition to compel distribution or to remove the executor or trustee from the estate. In this petition, requests can also be made for the executor to make an account of what they have done with the estate and charge for any losses caused by their inaction. If the distributions were being withheld due to unethical or illegal activity, you may also file a lawsuit for civil damages against the executor or trustee for their fraudulent or maleficent actions. The most important thing is that you act quickly as soon as you suspect that you will need to compel distribution in order to get what is yours.
Call or Contact Our Office Today
Knowing that you are entitled to assets in a will or trust can make it incredibly frustrating when the person in charge of distribution fails or refuses to give you what you are owed. At The Inheritance Recovery Attorneys, we understand this struggle and are prepared to provide you with top-tier legal representation to compel distribution of your assets from an estate or trust. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a free appointment to review your case.