From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I have served as the Executor for my mother’s Lehigh County estate for over a year and wish to close the estate. However, my brother claims that I have embezzled money from the estate. This is ridiculous, but how can I close the estate while he makes these claims?
As the executor, you could make an “at risk” distribution of the estate assets. This means you distribute the money without getting a release. This is not advisable, as your brother could then use his inheritance to hire a Lehigh County Orphans’ Court Lawyer to force you to file a formal account. Because you would have distributed the estate funds, this cost would have to come out of your pocket.
Instead, you have the legal right to retain your own Lehigh County Orphans’ Court Attorney to help you assemble and file a Formal Accounting. The costs related to this are a normal cost of an estate and paid out of the estate’s funds. Your brother is then free to object to your accounting, and if you cannot satisfy his objections, you will get a hearing in front of the Lehigh County Orphans’ Court judge who renders a decision. Either way, you are then done and released.
It is unfortunate that your brother is making these claims, but there is a forum available to you that will allow you to bring the estate to a close.