Los Angeles California: Sometimes during probate administration, we hear “the executor has stolen money or been ignoring me or avoiding me.” What happens if an executor robbed from the trust or estate and been putting you off or ignoring you for a long time? If you have ever found yourself thinking that an executor or administrator has ignored you or has been delaying the estate administration for some time, there may be several things that have gone under California inheritance law. Executor fraud and executor abuse are very common in California.
What can happen when you delay prosecution and the executor stole money from the estate?
Often, a beneficiary or an heir may call us and complain that an “executor has been ignoring me for a long time” and wants us to act on their case to protect their inheritance. We first have to find out if you have actually waited too long. Breaches of fiduciary duty have short statutes of limitations.
Absconding Executor Often Delays
When an executor absconds with assets of the estate, it is not uncommon for the executor to ignore the beneficiary and delay distribution. At times, the executor refuses to distribute the estate assets without any justification. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations on breach of fiduciary duty runs three years from the earliest date the breach could have been discovered by a reasonable person. This means that if you had been given notice of the appointment of the executor, and an opportunity to question the executor and failed to do so, the statute of limitations may have already started to run. To prevent loss you must act promptly and file the appropriate papers in probate court. If the administrator is refusing to act properly or declines to distribute the assets of the estate after an order, there is a substantial problem.
Recovery of assets from an executor has deadlines
Next, we have to evaluate whether or not we can recover assets on behalf of the estate. Once a beneficiary knows or could know of facts involving a breach, the clock has started to tick on the claim of the beneficiary. Much of recovery (prevention of further loss) from an executor or trustee revolves around the ability to freeze the assets of the estates quickly to prevent further loss. A delayed distribution can sometimes be a clue to executor theft, and it should give you cause to pause and retain an attorney.
Our advice to you about executors is that the minute you know an executor has been appointed, is avoiding you, or has delayed distributing the assets, you must get counsel to advise you of the specific deadlines that the executor must meet within his duties to you. If you see that the executor has missed a deadline, you must act quickly regardless of whether other beneficiaries or heirs will agree with you regarding the issues around the executor or administrator. An executor delay is usually a bad sign in estates and you should be aware of all activities of the executor and due dates of documents from him or her.
Talk to the skilled estate attorney at Sirkin Law about the executor’s duties to you and do not wait too long if the executor has either stolen money, ignored you or missed any deadline. Getting counsel in the first instant when you are weary of the executor, can save you thousands of dollars and protect your inheritance. Call the attorneys at Sirkin Law Group for a free estate consultation. We can answer all of your inheritance law questions at 818.340.4479.