What can you do when you are concerned that the Personal Representative may be mishandling the estate?
How can you tell the difference between real danger and something else?
In this article, we’re going to give you some simple tips to help you better evaluate and handle these situations.
My name is Erik Broel and I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group.
At our firm, we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored.
When it looks like a personal representative is mishandling an estate, it can be cause for alarm.
Before you take any action, however, it is often helpful to assess whether you have reason to believe that something harmful is going on.
Some common signs we see when a Personal Representative is mishandling the estate:
- Stopping all communication.
- Refusing to provide simple reports about estate finances.
- Refusing to provide backup documentation, such as bank accounts.
- Openly lying about transactions when asked.
- Transferring assets into their name or the name of another close family member, such as their child.
While these are not all of the possible symptoms of bad actions, they are some of the more common ones.
When looking at your options, we suggest the following steps to investigate the situation:
1. Attempt To Have An Open and Honest Conversation With The Personal Representative
Don’t be aggressive or rude!
We’ve found that may cause a dispute on its own – but do be business-like, professional, and direct.
State the facts.
Ask questions to understand what has occurred.
Remember, you are looking for information, not making accusations.
2. Send Written Correspondence By Mail Or Email
If the first attempt did not go well (or if the Personal Representative is nonresponsive), send written correspondence by mail or email to the Personal Representative stating your concerns and asking the questions you have.
Be careful with this step!
When writing, you need to anticipate that your note could be later used in a court proceeding so keep it professional and business-like.
3. Consider A More Aggressive Action
If neither of the first two brings the situation to resolution, then you may need to consider more aggressive action, which may include filing something in probate court.
In order to evaluate your situation and determine whether the evidence you have is sufficient, we recommend that you reach out to a member of our team, so you don’t go down the wrong road and make the situation worse.
Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice.
If you are in a situation where you’re concerned about a Personal Representative’s handling of an estate in Georgia, I recommend you reach out to our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.
If you’re not quite ready for a consultation, be sure to download our Georgia Probate Handbook so you know how the estate is supposed to be handled.