Grandma died two years ago. When will her will be settled?


Q. My grandma died in March 2018. The executor is an old man, who is very sick and depressed, and he has done nothing to move on the will. She has been dead for two years and her house is still sitting vacant and the bank accounts are still open. Do we have any recourse with this situation?
— Grandson

A. We’re sorry to hear about your grandmother.

Please understand that in cases like this, the specific facts matter, so you’re going to need to speak to an attorney who can review what’s happened.

But generally, the answer depends on whether the named executor filed the will with the applicable surrogate office or not.

“If he did and was qualified as executor, a party in interest — a beneficiary of the estate — can petition the court to have him removed as executor and have himself or herself appointed as successor executor,” said Steven Holt, an attorney and chair of the taxation, trusts and estates department at Mandelbaum Salsburg in Roseland

If he did not do so, then the successor executor, if any, named in the will would need to file a formal petition with the court seeking to have the first named executor disqualified and to qualify the successor as executor.

“The first named executor could also renounce his entitlement to serve as executor, in which event the successor could seek to qualify without a formal action being commenced so long as he or she has received and files the formal renunciation from the first named executor,” Holt said. “If there is no successor named, then a party in interest would need to commence a formal action to have the named executor disqualified and to have himself or herself qualified as administrator.”

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This story was originally published on July 2, 2020. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.

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