Being named executor or administrator of an estate is an enormous responsibility. There are complex laws, highly specific pleadings and procedures, and crucial deadlines. Further, the executor has a fiduciary duty to the estate to carry out these responsibilities with reasonable care. Ultimately though, the role of executor is a hallowed promise to honor the last wishes of the deceased and to do right by his or her loved ones.
Recovering Missing Assets
One of the most time consuming, yet significant duties of the executor is to create an inventory of the estate for the probate court. This means quickly and meticulously identifying all property, tangible and intangible, that belonged to the decedent. During this process, it is not uncommon for the executor to discover that assets are missing. When this happens, there are choices to be made. Is the property of great enough value to justify the time and legal expense of attempting to recover it?
If the answer is yes, then the executor should contact an experienced probate attorney to pursue legal action. The Illinois legislature created a cause of action referred to as a “Citation Proceeding”, which authorizes a court to:
“order a citation to issue for the appearance before it of any person whom the petitioner believes (1) to have concealed, converted or embezzled or to have in his possession or control any personal property, books of account, papers or evidences of debt or title to lands which belonged to a person whose estate is being administered in that court or which belongs to his estate or to his representative or (2) to have information or knowledge withheld by the respondent from the representative and needed by the representative for the recovery of any property by suit or otherwise.”
When the respondent appears before the court, the court has the authority to question that person under oath. Based on the evidence, the court can determine title and property rights. If the executor receives a favorable ruling, the estate can then recover the property, or the value of the property if the respondent has converted or destroyed it.
Contact a Probate Attorney
Probate law requires hard work, knowledge of the law, and attention to detail. The team at the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas takes pride in offering this to our clients. You need a knowledgeable, thorough attorney who can help you through complex probate proceedings. I have been a probate and tax attorney for more than twenty years and have a Master of Law Degree (LLM) in Taxation. Contact The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas at 847-392-5893 to schedule an appointment or visit our website today.