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Wills/Probate


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#1 JohnHn

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:23 AM

My widowed father recently passed in NY. There are four surviving children. One son living nearby was named administrator. He has been tremendously uncooperative and even had the locks changed on the doors to our father's home. When Dad died, he did not even call or write his other siblings to let us know. We have all been good children and both Mom and Dad stated numerous times that all of the property would be divided equally. We are not sure that will occur and I would like to know our legal rights.
My questions are:
1) How do I obtain a copy of the will? Or should it be sent automatically by the attorney handling the estate?
2) Is the attorney required to keep all of the children informed of the proceedings?
3) Do we have a right to see and question all of the financial transactions the one son executed?
3) If we suspect embezzlement, how do we proceed?

#2 pg1067

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:47 AM

My widowed father recently passed in NY. There are four surviving children. One son living nearby was named administrator. He has been tremendously uncooperative and even had the locks changed on the doors to our father's home.


You say that as though you think it is unreasonable for him to change the locks. It's not. In fact, if he has reason to believe that others might attempt to enter the premises without his knowledge and permission, it is a very smart thing to do. As far as your brother being "uncooperative," I obviously cannot know what you mean by that.


1) How do I obtain a copy of the will? Or should it be sent automatically by the attorney handling the estate?


The administrator is the person "handling the estate." If your brother has an attorney representing him, then you should write to the attorney to request a copy of the will. If your brother doesn't have an attorney, then direct your request to him. Or you should be able to obtain a copy from the surrogate court's case file.


2) Is the attorney required to keep all of the children informed of the proceedings?


Some things will require notification. Most will not. Note, however, the obligation is imposed on the administrator. If the administrator has a lawyer, then the lawyer will typically do these things on behalf of the administrator.


3) Do we have a right to see and question all of the financial transactions the one son executed?


Generally, no.


[4]) If we suspect embezzlement, how do we proceed?


Embezzlement is a crime. If you suspect it has occurred and have a reasonable factual basis for your suspicion, feel free to report it to the police. If you don't believe your brother will act in a legally proper manner in his capacity as administrator of your father's estate, free free to hire an attorney to help you oversee the process. Of course, you will have to pay your own legal fees, and, if you take action that requires the administrator to incur legal fees, those fees will be paid from the estate unless the court determines that your brother has acted improperly.




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