Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Thanks for your question and good evening.You may have a civil claim here against your stepsister here who is the executor.Executors in North Carolina here have a fiduciary duty to protect assets and to not engage in self dealing.You are going to need a local lawyer here where the estate is pending to send a demand letter for these funds and to file suit if necessary.
North Carolina law places strict fiduciary duties on executors of estates. Executors of estates do not always fulfill these fiduciary duties. This can occur through inattention to the estate, improper investments, improper use of the estate property or outright theft.
If an executor of an estate such as your stepsister does not fulfill her fiduciary duties then a petition can be filed with the clerk of court seeking their removal. An executor or administrator may also be required to pay damages to the estate. In some instances punitive damages may be awarded against an executorIt appears you have grounds here to remove the stepsister if she has been violating her duties to you and the estate in this situation.You should not sign anything without your lawyer reviewing it and the funds that you are due.You have rights as an heir and you will have to pursue these against the stepsister the executor.You may also seek to have the probate court remove her as executor as well as seeking lawyer fees and court costs in such a claim.It has been my pleasure to assist you tonight.Please let me know if you have more follow up.Thanks again.
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You can locate a local probate lawyer here to pursue recovery of funds including lawyer fees and costs as well as removal of stepsister here as executor.http://www.ncbar.org/public-pro-bono/lawyer-referral-service/for-the-publicThanks again.
North Carolina law holds executor liable here and also possibility of removal..
(a) Property of Estate. A personal representative shall be liable for and chargeable in his accounts with all of the estate of the decedent which comes into his possession at any time, including all the income therefrom; but he shall not be liable for any debts due to the decedent or other assets of the estate which remain uncollected without his fault. Except for commissions allowable by law, he shall not be entitled to any profits caused by an increase in values, nor be chargeable with loss by a decrease in value or destruction without his fault, of any part of the estate.
(b) Property Not a Part of Estate. A personal representative shall be chargeable in his accounts with property not a part of the estate which comes into his possession at any time and shall be liable to the persons entitled thereto if:
(1) The property was received under a duty imposed on him by law in the capacity of personal representative; or
(2) He has commingled such property with the assets of the estate.
(c) Breach of Duty. A personal representative shall be liable and chargeable in his accounts for any loss to the estate arising from his embezzlement or commingling of the estate with other property; for loss to the estate through self‑dealing; for any loss to the estate from wrongful acts or omissions of his joint personal representatives which he could have prevented by the exercise of ordinary care; and for any loss to the estate arising from his failure to act in good faith and with such care, foresight and diligence as an ordinarily reasonable and prudent man would act with his own property under like circumstances. If the exercise of power concerning the estate is improper, the personal representative is liable for breach of fiduciary duty to interested persons for resulting damage or loss to the same extent as a trustee of an express trust. (1973, c. 1329, s. 3; 1975, c. 300, s. 4.)
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