Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Thanks for your question and good evening.As an heir here you have right to all copies of the pleadings /documents that have been filed in the estate.The administrator here is required to file an inventory of the estate assets.All of these documents are public records.If you cannot get them otherwise you can call the court clerk where probate is located and order them.Overall the administrator has a fiduciary duty here to gather assets. communicate and provide copies of documents upon requests.You have a right here as do the other heirs to write the probate judge if you are denied copies of documents and administrator will not communicate with you.The administrator can be removed by the court for breaches of fiduciary duties and failure to answer questions or file an inventory here.So write the administrator and ask for copies, if these are not forthcoming write the judge and express your concerns.You can attach a copy of letters where you tried to get answers from the administrator as proof of breach of fiduciary and other duties.Remember you have right to order copies from the court if you have to .
Here is reference to the duties of administrator and process for removal.
It has been my pleasure to assist you tonight.Please let me know if you have more follow up.Thanks again.
I have not received any records for 4 years now. Would this be considered a reason to have the adiminstrator removed. Also are there laws that the administrator must follow. I know the duties but what happens after that.
Yes you would have a great set of facts here to seek removal of the administrator.You may want to write the judge or consider a local lawyer where the estate is to seek their removal for failure to follow their fiduciary duties to the heirs in all of this.I would try and gather copies of everything order them from the court so that if you want to pursue this you would have them for the lawyer.Here are ABA approved lawyers--you want a probate lawyer.http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/lris/directory/main.cfm?id=NJ
Law on removal.
PROBATE CODE SECTION 8500-8505
8500. (a) Any interested person may petition for removal of the personal representative from office. A petition for removal may be combined with a petition for appointment of a successor personal representative under Article 7 (commencing with Section 8520). The petition shall state facts showing cause for removal. (b) On a petition for removal, or if the court otherwise has reason to believe from the court's own knowledge or from other credible information, whether on the settlement of an account or otherwise, that there are grounds for removal, the court shall issue a citation to the personal representative to appear and show cause why the personal representative should not be removed. The court may suspend the powers of the personal representative and may make such orders as are necessary to deal with the property pending the hearing. (c) Any interested person may appear at the hearing and file a written declaration showing that the personal representative should be removed or retained. The personal representative may demur to or answer the declaration. The court may compel the attendance of the personal representative and may compel the personal representative to answer questions, on oath, concerning the administration of the estate. Failure to attend or answer is cause for removal of the personal representative from office. (d) The issues shall be heard and determined by the court. If the court is satisfied from the evidence that the citation has been duly served and cause for removal exists, the court shall remove the personal representative from office. 8501. On removal of a personal representative from office, the court shall revoke any letters issued to the personal representative, and the authority of the personal representative ceases. 8502. A personal representative may be removed from office for any of the following causes: (a) The personal representative has wasted, embezzled, mismanaged, or committed a fraud on the estate, or is about to do so. (b) The personal representative is incapable of properly executing the duties of the office or is otherwise not qualified for appointment as personal representative. (c) The personal representative has wrongfully neglected the estate, or has long neglected to perform any act as personal representative. (d) Removal is otherwise necessary for protection of the estate or interested persons. (e) Any other cause provided by statute. 8503. (a) Subject to subdivision (b), an administrator may be removed from office on the petition of the surviving spouse or a relative of the decedent entitled to succeed to all or part of the estate, or the nominee of the surviving spouse or relative, if such person is higher in priority than the administrator. (b) The court in its discretion may refuse to grant the petition: (1) Where the petition is by a person or the nominee of a person who had actual notice of the proceeding in which the administrator was appointed and an opportunity to contest the appointment. (2) Where to do so would be contrary to the sound administration of the estate. 8504. (a) After appointment of an administrator on the ground of intestacy, the personal representative shall be removed from office on the later admission to probate of a will. (b) After appointment of an executor or administrator with the will annexed, the personal representative shall be removed from office on admission to probate of a later will. 8505. (a) A personal representative may be removed from office if the personal representative is found in contempt for disobeying an order of the court. (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, a personal representative may be removed from office under this section by a court order reciting the facts and without further showing or notice. Thanks again for letting me help you.
Here are all the probate laws in NJ including administrator duties, etc.http://law.onecle.com/new-jersey/3b-administration-of-estates-decedents-and-others/
More on duties and removal of administrator/personal representative.
Thanks for your patience here.
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