What if a sibling’s behavior interferes in probate proceedings?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate |

The probate process is often frustratingly slow, especially for those who want access to their inheritance as soon as possible. Even when someone has a very thorough estate plan in place before their death, the need to notify creditors, wait for court hearings and handle numerous other responsibilities can delay the distribution of property.

Of course, the whole process doesn’t even start until the executor of the estate opens probate proceedings, and the final distribution of resources may not happen until they close the estate in probate court.

What should you do if your sibling intentionally delays probate processes or interferes in the family’s attempts to move forward?

You may need to find a viable workaround

If the sibling who won’t take action is the one your family had always thought would serve as the executor or personal representative of the estate, it may be necessary for the other family members to work together to initiate the probate process.

They can discuss who would be a good alternative candidate to the person refusing to open the estate. Once named, the new representative can file the appropriate paperwork with the probate courts.

You may need to remove your sibling

When the court has already appointed someone as the executor of a New York estate, that representative should act in a timely manner to resolve the testator’s obligations and preserve the value of the estate’s resources. If someone has mismanaged their role as executor, the remaining family members or beneficiaries affected by their choices may be able to ask the court to remove them.

Those who can’t get an executor to open probate or who have dealt with an executor who mismanages estate assets and refuses to close probate may need to ask the court for help. The New York probate courts can remove an executor from their role if they fail to fulfill their duty to the estate. That way, someone willing and able to fulfill probate requirements can take over the role and move the process along, as it could easily take well over a year to complete.

Understanding how to take the right steps to advocate for the interests of the estate will make it easier to feel confident about taking action when your family is navigating a challenging probate situation.