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What Happens If A Beneficiary Refuses To Sign A Release

Probate Litigation Attorney

What Happens If a Beneficiary Refuses to Sign a Release

Once all estate obligations and taxes have been settled, disagreements have been resolved, and everything has been verified, an estate executor can submit a document detailing the final accounting of an estate’s assets to the court and request the approval of the application for distribution. The process may begin once the court approves the executor’s request to start distributing the assets to heirs and beneficiaries.

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Probate Attorney

What Happens If a Beneficiary Refuses to Sign a Release

 

Does the beneficiary need to sign anything?

Beneficiaries frequently need to confirm receipt of inheritance by signing a release. For instance, if you inherit a share of the decedent’s real estate, you will have to sign a deed acknowledging receipt of your share of the estate. If not, the transfer will be ineffective.

Watch out for what you are signing up for, though. The executor will ask you to sign to guarantee that they are shielded from personal accountability for the job they have done administering the estate.

Additionally, it guarantees that once they’ve distributed everything that has to be distributed, they won’t need to take back any properties or assets or distribute them differently.

Don’t sign the release if you have issues with an executor’s accounting. The executor must inform you that it’s optional. But, failure to sign means the executor will have to go back to the court to seek approval of the account, resulting in a delay in receiving your inheritance.

What is a beneficiary release?

The release is a document confirming that you are satisfied with the executor’s work and accounting for the estate. Get all the information before you sign because you can’t bring any legal dispute against the executor once you’ve signed it. Any beneficiary is entitled to a report on the executor’s activities going back to when they started handling the estate affairs.

This accounting ought to contain:

· A statement of the fees and all other expenses paid from the estate. These include legal fees and any fees the executor may have charged for services rendered;

· A breakdown of debts settled from the estate’s assets;

· A tax clearance document stating that all taxes, interests, and penalties have been settled.

When should you decide not to sign the release?

Only decline to sign if you have particular reservations about the executor’s estate accounting. You can raise the issue in court when the executor asks the court to approve their final accounting. For example, if you know the tax debts weren’t significant, but the executor has used a substantial part of the assets to settle the debt and refuses to produce the tax clearance document, then it’s wise not to indemnify them. That way, you can bring legal action against them for misappropriating estate funds.

What happens if you refuse to sign the release?

The count needs to approve the executor’s financial accounting of the estate. This action can cause your inheritance to be delayed. Additionally, until the legal dispute gets resolved, you will prevent all other heirs and beneficiaries from getting their inheritance. Before taking the matter to probate, it may be prudent, in some circumstances, to express your concerns to the executor and see how they respond and whether any document could help satisfy your concerns. However, you should never sign a release if you plan to fight the will or the way the assets are distributed.

What can override a beneficiary?

Suppose you disagree with the executor and decide to take legal action, for instance, by putting pressure on them to sell estate assets before administration. In that case, the executor may hire a knowledgeable probate litigation attorney to veto your litigious action. Probate laws may agree with the executor.

However, the executor cannot change a will. They have a fiduciary obligation to manage the deceased’s estates for the benefit of the beneficiaries, transparently conduct probate, and eventually distribute the inheritance to heirs and beneficiaries. Communication is essential, and they should inform you of any legal action taken to override your litigious act.

Wrap-up

Generally speaking, estate litigation is complex and could endanger your inheritance. Before deciding whether to sign the release, it is best to speak with an experienced estate attorney. If you have concerns regarding the executor of your deceased’s estate and want to take legal action, reach out to us. We’ll be glad to provide guidance.

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ADDRESS

Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC
620 Newport Center Drive Suite 1400
Newport Beach, California, 92660
Office: (949) 706-7300 
Toll Free: (888) 318-4430

Copyright © 2022 Hess-Verdon, PLC. All rights reserved. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The verdicts and settlements listed on this site are intended to be representative of cases handled by Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims. The information contained on this website is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney.

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Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC
620 Newport Center Drive Suite 1400
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Office: (949) 706-7300 
Toll Free: (888) 318-4430

Copyright © 2022 Hess-Verdon, PLC. All rights reserved. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The verdicts and settlements listed on this site are intended to be representative of cases handled by Hess-Verdon & Associates, PLC. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims. The information contained on this website is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney.

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