Show Cause: Returning Estate Property to the Estate

When a loved one passes away, it sometimes happens that another person is in possession of that loved one’s property. If you are serving as executor or administrator of an estate, or if you are a beneficiary of an estate, it is important for different reasons that you take control of that property.


If you are an executor or administrator, you have a legal duty to possess and control that property, as well as to protect it from harm. You could face liability if someone else has that estate property and allows it to be damaged or lost.


As a beneficiary, you have an interest in recovering estate property because you might be the person entitled to receive it.


We recently had a case where one of the heirs of the estate, the child of the gentleman who passed away, moved into the estate home and took control over all of the estate’s property. The other children had not yet received any of their father’s property, not even a family photo.


We brought a successful show cause action in court to force the heir to return the estate property to the administrator of the estate.  A show cause action means that the heir who has the property must come before the probate judge and tell the court why he or she should not have to turn the estate property over to the administrator. After our successful show cause action, the administrator is now holding the estate property for the benefit of all heirs – not just the one who decided she was entitled to the property.