What to Do if the Estate Representative (Executor or Administrator) or the Trustee Won’t Speak to the Beneficiaries

Who reaches out to the recipients of a Will or a Trust? Is it mandatory to inform heirs? What information must an executor reveal to beneficiaries? How can an Estate Representative (an Executor or Administrator) or the Trustee be held accountable for withholding information?

An Estate Representative (an Executor if named in a Will or an Administrator no estate plan or if not named in the Wil) and a Trustee both act as Fiduciaries for the heirs or beneficiaries. Fiduciaries’ duty to act with the utmost good faith in the best interests of the heirs or beneficiaries.

The Fiduciary should provide information to the beneficiaries or heirs required information.   When the Executor, Administrator or Trustee won’t respond to reasonable inquiries from a beneficiary or heir or has stopped communication, the beneficiaries or heirs ability to make decisions about the Estate or Trust will be impaired.

So, what to do when faced with an Executor, Administrator or Trustee who won’t speak to the beneficiaries?

The Right Approach

The Executor, Administrator or Trustee who stops communicating or won’t respond to the heirs or beneficiaries can cause uncertainty, confusion and frustration.  Heirs or Beneficiaries may speculate that the Fiduciary is unaware of the duty to keep the beneficiaries reasonably informed, is simply incompetent, or possibly to conceal misconduct.

Gaining an understanding of the correct approach to address this issue may prove essential. That begins with an assessment as to whether the Executor, Administrator or Trustee isn’t fulfilling their duties as required by the Will or Trust or as required by Law.

  • Examine the legal duties of the Executor, Administrator or Trustee as required by Law.
  • Review the Will or Trust to determine the duties required of the Executor, Administrator or Trustee.
  • Identify specific clauses related to communication and distribution of assets.
  • Determine whether the Estate is of sufficient value to require opening a Probate.
  • Understand the legal steps involved and the timeline for resolving the Estate or Trust.
  • Determine which provisions in the Will or Trust that require the Fiduciary to communicate with or report to heirs or beneficiaries, such as a duty to account.
  • Assess whether the lack of communication underscores a breach of fiduciary duties.
  • Familiarize yourself with the laws governing intestate succession when there is no estate plan.

Your Helping Hand

If you are an heir or beneficiary of an Estate or a Trust and you are concerned about the proposed actions or lack of communication by an Executor, Administrator or Trustee, discuss your situation with an attorney specializing in Trust and Estate Law as soon as possible. For an Estate or Trust in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County or Irvine, seek assistance from local legal professionals that are familiar with the courts in your area.

A Probate Attorney can assist with obtaining reasonable appropriate information from the Executor, Administrator or Trustee through a determination of your best strategy to protect your rights and inheritance.