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  • Writer's pictureDenise Davis

Executor of The Estate Not Sharing Information With Me, What Can I Do?

Updated: Jun 28



What Can An Heir Do If the Executor of the Estate Is Not Sharing Information With Them?

When a loved one passes away, the distribution of their estate is typically managed by an executor, a person appointed either by the deceased's will or by the court. In North Carolina, as in many other states, the executor has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and to keep them informed about the estate's administration. However, there are times when heirs may feel that the executor is not sharing sufficient information or is not acting transparently. Here’s what heirs can do in such situations.


1. Request Information Formally

The first step heirs should take is to request information formally from the executor. This can be done through a written request. It’s essential to be polite and specific about the information being requested, such as copies of the will, an inventory of the estate’s assets, and details of any debts or expenses paid out of the estate.


2. Understand the Executor’s Responsibilities

Executors in North Carolina are required to:

  • File the will with the probate court.

  • Notify heirs and creditors of the probate proceedings.

  • Create an inventory of the estate’s assets and liabilities.

  • Pay debts and taxes owed by the estate.

  • Distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the will or state law if there is no will.

Knowing these responsibilities can help heirs understand what information they are entitled to receive.


3. Seek Mediation

If the initial request for information is ignored or met with resistance, heirs can consider mediation. Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps facilitate a resolution between the executor and the heirs. This process can be less adversarial and less expensive than going to court.


4. Consult an Attorney

If mediation does not resolve the issue, consulting an attorney with experience in probate law is a wise next step. An attorney can provide legal advice specific to the situation and may communicate with the executor on behalf of the heirs. Sometimes, a letter from an attorney is enough to prompt the executor to act more transparently.




5. File a Petition with the Probate Court

If the executor continues to withhold information or act improperly, heirs can file a petition with the probate court. In North Carolina, this can involve:

  • Petition for Inventory and Accounting: Heirs can request the court to order the executor to provide a detailed inventory of the estate’s assets and an accounting of all financial transactions.

  • Petition for Removal of the Executor: If the executor is not fulfilling their duties, heirs can ask the court to remove and replace the executor. This is a serious step and requires evidence of misconduct or failure to perform the executor’s duties.


6. Understand the Timeline

Probate can be a lengthy process, often taking several months to over a year to complete. Understanding this timeline can help manage expectations. Executors are typically given a reasonable amount of time to perform their duties, and delays are not uncommon. However, unreasonable delays or lack of communication should be addressed.


7. Keep Detailed Records

Heirs should keep detailed records of all communications with the executor. This includes copies of letters, emails, and notes from phone conversations. Having a clear record can be crucial if legal action becomes necessary.


8. Seek Court Intervention

In extreme cases, heirs may seek the court’s intervention to compel the executor to act. This could include orders for specific performance, where the court orders the executor to carry out specific duties, or sanctions for failure to comply with court orders.


Conclusion

While dealing with an uncooperative executor can be challenging, heirs in North Carolina have several avenues to seek information and ensure the estate is administered properly. Starting with a formal request and escalating through mediation, legal counsel, and potentially court action, heirs can protect their interests and the wishes of their loved one. It’s essential to act calmly and methodically, understanding both the legal framework and the executor’s responsibilities throughout the probate process.


Denise Harper Davis

252-902-9006

Realtor | Investor | Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist

If you need a realtor to help you sell a home you inherited, a home included in probate or maybe you just want to sell a home you own, contact me.  I am a NC realtor and together we will discuss the best options to get your home sold. Whether it's a quick cash offer or listing it on the market for top-dollar, I can help you!


📌 Disclaimer: The above information is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Consult with a qualified attorney for personalized guidance on your specific situation

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