The value of what was stolen and who took it determine the Penalty for Stealing from an Estate. Embezzling cash or stealing property from an estate you were assigned to manage is unlawful and punishable by law.
Even if there is a valid will, probate, the judicial process that governs the transfer of assets, is nearly always needed. If an executor or beneficiary is accused of stealing from the estate, probate law guarantees that specific measures are in place to preserve assets.
The Penalty for Stealing from an Estate
The Penalty for Stealing from an Estate might be as simple as returning the stolen funds or assets to the trust or estate.
In extreme circumstances, however, the California Probate Code provides statutory grounds for:
- Seeking double damages
- Triple damages
- Punitive damages
- Disinheritance of the abuser
- Attorney’s fees and expenses
The availability and possibility of these remedies and recoveries are highly fact-specific and should be examined with a probate or estate litigation counsel as soon as you suspect misconduct.
Is It Illegal to Steal an Inheritance?
It is illegal to steal estate assets or estate property.
That implies that someone convicted of breaking a state’s legal standards might face criminal penalties under probate laws.
To convict someone in Probate Court, you must show that they broke state laws as an executor or beneficiary and stole money or funds from an estate to a judge.
Stealing from an Estate: Different Penalties
Someone who takes from an estate might face criminal charges, a fine, or both if they do so.
Theft from an estate valued at $100,000 or more is a first-degree crime punishable by up to 30 years in jail, a $10,000 fine, or both.
Penalty in Civil Court
Stealing from an estate can restore money or property to the estate, sometimes with interest.
The court may also order fines and attorney’s fees for the winning party.
Property Returning / Turning Over
The beneficiaries of an estate can bring a procedure for Discovery and Turnover.
If the court approves the turnover, the assets gained illegally must be returned.
Surcharge requires the thief to repay what they have taken.
The beneficiaries might seek the court to impose a surcharge on the person who took money or property they did not have.
If the person who stole is both a beneficiary and an executor, the court might surcharge their The Penalty for Stealing from an Estate, handing it to the other heirs in part or whole.
An executor who has stolen from an estate can be discharged and replaced by one of the estate’s beneficiaries by a Surrogate’s Court judge.
The newly appointed executor is generally the beneficiary who launched actions against the prior executor for wrongdoing.
Attorney Fees and the Penalty for Stealing from an Estate
If an executor steals from an estate, the beneficiaries’ attorney expenses may be compelled to be paid.
Because the estate pays an executor’s legal bills, the court may require the executor to refund the estate.
An executor gets paid a 3% fee on the value of the estate they are in charge of.
If an executor steals from an estate, the court might forgo its commission.
Penalties for crimes
Most estate theft charges do not go to criminal prosecution; however, theft allegations involving large sums of money that can be substantiated with solid evidence can.
The Accused’s Point Of View
The executor or administrator of an estate accused of theft may claim that they were paying estate expenditures, claiming their part as a beneficiary, supporting their legal bills, or mixing monies by accident.
Unless the executor agrees to a plea deal with the District Attorney’s office, the court will decide if these accusations are accurate.
The Criminal Code
According to the law, the Penalty for Stealing from an Estate or an executor who takes from an estate has committed robbery.
Larceny is defined as the illegal taking, gaining, or keeping of another person’s property.
Guidelines for Sentencing
The length of a larceny sentence is determined by the amount stolen.
A 30-year jail term and a $10,000 fine is the most severe punishment for theft.
The Penalty for Stealing from an Estate: Restitution
The executor or anybody else who has stolen from an estate might be ordered by the court to restore the property and make restitution to the beneficiaries.
Trustees, administrators, attorneys, carers, and anyone who had access to the estate finances might be accused of theft.
You Should Know About Inheritance Theft Laws
Every state has its unique inheritance theft laws, but they all boil down to the same thing:
Someone who takes from an estate can face civil or criminal prosecution.
You have the legal right to dismiss someone as the executor of an estate under inheritance theft statutes.
Suppose an executor takes assets from a beneficiary. In that case, you can obtain a court order, with the help of a probate law company, requiring the person who stole the assets to restore the assets and pay any damages.
Damages are covered, as are legal expenditures involved with recovering stolen goods.
Executives are not exempt from inheritance theft laws.
They apply to beneficiaries as well.
This implies that beneficiaries may face legal charges for taking assets from an estate, mainly if they take items not part of their inheritance but were intended for someone else.
What Should I Do If My Estate Is Robbed?
If you know who took your the Penalty for Stealing from an Estate, you can work with an attorney to get a demand letter sent to the person who stole it.
You may know who took the item in many circumstances.
In these situations, you can either face punishment for stealing from an estate or merely request that the item be returned to you in exchange for the accusations being dropped.
When individuals receive a formal letter from an attorney, they will usually return the property freely.
You can take them to court if they do not comply.
If you have proof that your inheritance has been stolen, your attorney can seek the court for a court order to return the stolen goods.
In these circumstances, the court will usually impose a penalty for stealing from the estate and require the guilty person to pay any legal fees and damages.