Assuming by your question that you are a beneficiary of your parent’s estate, you are entitled to certain information.  For instance, where the Estate is not required to file an estate tax return, an Executor must file an Inventory of Assets with the Court within six months of his appointment.  Where the Executor is prepared to make distributions, the Executor should prepare an account showing the activities of the estate leading up to the date of distribution.  Prior to making distributions, we advise our clients to maintain an open channel of communication with the beneficiaries of an estate to avoid unintended litigation.  A simple letter every now and again updating the beneficiaries can go a long way to avoid litigation.

If the Executor fails to communicate with you, you have the right under New York State law to file a petition compelling the Executor to account.  Keep in mind, that some time should have passed since the Executor’s appointment.  A few months after the Executor’s appointment is hardly reasonable to begin the process of compelling an account.  You will need an attorney to assist you in this process but once filed, the Court has broad discretion in making the Executor file an account of his actions.  Generally, there will be stringent time frames imposed on the Executor to comply with the order of the Court.

Often, an Executor’s failure to communicate with the beneficiaries or file an account is indicative of an Executor’s inability to properly handle the affairs of the estate.  By compelling the Executor to account, it may be determined that the Executor should be removed and replaced allowing the administration of the Estate to move along to completion.

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