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How to Force Distributions from an Estate

What to Do if the Executor isn’t Making Distributions in a Timely Manner

Many executors do their jobs the exact way they are supposed to. Unfortunately, there are others who, for whatever reason, stall when it comes to dispersing the estate to some, or even all, of the beneficiaries. Unfortunately, this can become a serious enough issue that the beneficiaries will need to get the court to intervene with the help of a Westchester estate attorney.

The exact remedy for an executor that is not doing his or her legal duty can often depend on exactly what it is that he or she is not doing. For example, if the person named as an executor simply refuses or fails to file the correct paperwork or, even after the paperwork is filed, fails to do anything else when it comes to the estate, such as paying estate debts, protecting assets and releasing distributions to beneficiaries, then it the best route may be to petition the court to remove that executor all together. This may be especially necessary if it appears that there is not going to be any way to compel the executor to do what they are supposed to.

There are other reasons why assets may not be distributed by the executor as well. Sometimes this can be because the executor simply hasn’t responded to demands from the beneficiaries or their attorney. Sometimes if there is a power struggle between the executor and the beneficiaries this will also be seen. In cases like this, especially where it appears that the executor may respond to an order, rather than having the executor removed, he or she will be ordered to disperse the gifts as necessary. The courts will often prefer to order an already existing executor to act, as opposed to removing the executor and having them replaced with a different one.

A beneficiary needs to understand when it is and under what circumstances a court will act against an executor when it comes to determining if they will bring an action. Often, the courts will expect an executor to act in a reasonable time to close out the estate after a testator dies. What is considered a reasonable time is subjective and can depend on a number of factors including how complicated the estate is, the size of the estate, the court’s workload and whether or not there was a contest regarding the will. Usually, for a simple estate, it will be expected that the estate will be closed within a year. For more complicated estates, three years would be considered reasonable. However, there can be some cases, such as when there is a nasty dispute over the estate, where the estate isn’t settled for years.

If you believe that there has been more than a reasonable amount of time that has passed without getting the gift you were left in a loved one’s or friend’s will, contact an experienced Westchester estate attorney to determine what your rights are and how you should proceed.

If you are a beneficiary who is looking for an estate attorney in Westchester County, , New York, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (914) 293-2043.