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What is beneficiary theft in relation to probate?

by | Oct 6, 2021 | Estate Litigation

Some individuals in Nevada and across the country feel entitled to preferential treatment. In some cases, these people may feel that they can do whatever they want without waiting for the proper authority or permission. Unfortunately, if a beneficiary feels this way while an estate is going through probate, it is possible for that person tosteal from an estate before the process reaches the asset distribution stages, thus committing beneficiary theft.

Estate theft or beneficiary theft is not unheard of when a person’s estate is going through probate proceedings. In some cases, the theft could be accidental if an individual simply does not understand that waiting until the distribution portion of probate is necessary before taking items from the remaining estate. Still, even if it occurs accidentally, the matter needs to be addressed as soon as realized to ensure that serious complications do not result.

On the other hand, such theft could occur purposefully if a beneficiary simply does not want to wait to obtain his or her bequest. The following actions could point to theft from the estate:

  • Selling estate property without proper authority or permission
  • Taking assets from the estate under the guise of borrowing but not truly having any intention of returning or paying back the assets
  • Withdrawing funds from the decedent’s bank accounts without authorization

If the executor of a Nevada estate believes that a beneficiary has stolen from the estate, taking action is typically necessary. In some cases, beneficiary theft could lead to criminal charges as well as civil estate litigation. Because the executor has a duty to handle estate matters, he or she would need to defend the estate in such instances and has the obligation of bringing claims of theft to the attention of the court as necessary.