How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask legalgems Your Own Question
legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7123
Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
Type Your Legal Question Here...
legalgems is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My mother in law passed last August. My husbands brother is

Customer Question

My mother in law passed last August. My husbands brother is the executor of her estate. We were told there is a will but haven't had access to it. Can we ask for an accounting of the things that have been taken from the house? Do we have rights?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  legalgems replied 3 months ago.

My sympathies for your family's loss.

Probate is required when there is a will and a person has passed; the executor is expected to apply for Letters Testamentary so they can act as the legal representative of the estate (

General information here:

An heir has a right to be kept reasonably informed of the status of the probate proceeding and to a copy of the will. The will is on file with the court once probate is initiated so it is public record and anyone can get a copy. The heirs have a right to an accounting. The whole purpose of probate is to protect the heirs.

The executor has a fiduciary duty to the estate and the heirs.

A fiduciary duty means that the person in the fiduciary capacity owes a duty to the other person- and that the fiduciary must act in good faith, with the best intentions, to preserve any property that is at issue. Failure to act in this manner (essentially, a trust/guardian) is considered a "breach" and can result in:
1. removal of the fiduciary
2. sanctions (ie fines, award of attorney fees, etc)
3. damages (economic liability for the damages suffered by the party to whom the duty was owed)

It can also result in removal of the fiduciary.

A normal probate will take a total of 4-6 months so if the process has not been initiated an interested party can file to be appointed executor and obtain a court order for production of the will. If a person is in possession of the will and fails to act, that will often result in them not being appointed as executor because of fiduciary concerns.

Further questions? Please post here to continue the chat.

Satisfied? Kindly rate positively so I receive credit for assisting you.

(no additional charges are incurred).

Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.