A settlement of an estate means that it has been wrapped up (for example, see here)
Settlement means the estate has been settled- i.e. the personal representative (PR) gathered assets, paid creditors, and disbursed the remaining assets to the heirs per the will/intestate succession.
The PR has a fiduciary duty to 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)
If one feels they were entitled to an inheritance (and the letter indicating that would be reason to expect that) and it was not received, it would be best to hire an attorney to review the documents to find out what exactly happened- i.e. how the estate was disbursed. If the fiduciary was in breach, the fiduciary can be sued, and may be required to restore the money to the estate so it can be properly disbursed.
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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.