Do my sisters have to involve me in settling our dad's estate if I'm also a co-executor?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 11, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I have two sisters and we are all co-executors of our father's will. My two sisters lived close to my dad and I lived far away so their names were also on his checking account. Do they have to consult me on matters now that my dad has passed away? They haven't shown me any bank statements or anything.


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Except for the very rare circumstances in which a will spells out specific duties for each co-executor, all of those named are supposed to agree on how the property is managed—and are equally responsible for distributing it as the will directs.

As you are finding out the hard way, people often get strange and secretive when it comes to matters of death and property—and conflicts occur even in the friendliest of families.

Your first step should be to try reasoning with your sisters. Emphasize that your father named you all as co-executors because he wanted you to share the job—and you are legally required to do that. And emphasize that you are ready to help out in specific ways, even across the miles; that may be a pleasant surprise to them. If you each have specific duties in winding up the estate, that may help keep the confusion and distrust to a minimum.

In the end, the three of you will need to file an inventory and accounting with the court before probate will be final, so you will at least theoretically know how the funds were handled. But you should be assured that the accounting is correct before signing off on it.

If your sisters remain uncooperative, as a last resort, you can contact the probate court for help; court administrators in some locales are willing to give guidance in such situations.