Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
User avatar
JaneyLH
Posts: 390
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:16 pm

Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by JaneyLH » Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:49 pm

My former father-in-law passed away in 2011 and left me a bequest of $10,000. His attorney contacted me to double-check my contact information, then sent me a copy of his estate trust and a notification that I was a trust beneficiary. His stepson, my ex-husband, is the trustee.

I have never received any further communications or payment, but am reluctant to reach out to my ex-husband and inquire about the bequest. I was very close to my former father-in-law (he walked me down the aisle when I remarried) and in no way do I want to appear to be chasing the money. I have had no contact with my ex-husband due to the circumstances surrounding the end of our marriage and do not wish to re-engage with him. At the same time, it seems that after nearly 9 years this should have been settled. It occurs to me that my ex just didn't want me to have the money, and that bothers me -- not so much that I need the money, but that his stepfather's intentions have perhaps been ignored.

Is there a law that requires a trustee to execute these duties? Is there any court filing that would show whether the probate has been settled? Other than contacting my ex-husband directly, is there any other course of action I could take? I know I could hire a lawyer to look into this, but the whole thing is upsetting and it's been easier for me to just ignore it. :(

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 6015
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by Pajamas » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:02 pm

Since the attorney contacted you, contact the attorney. Seven years seems like a long time, however, and presumably the estate has been settled.

psteinx
Posts: 2886
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by psteinx » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:04 pm

Yeah - contact the original lawyer, or, failing that, find a different lawyer to work on your behalf. If the latter, obviously you'd have to pay for it.

But a lawyer should be able to give you a reasonable indication, probably with a free initial consultation, that engaging him/her for, say, 5 hours at $150 has a high chance of getting paid $10K, or, conversely, that you've got little chance and should write it off, or that the legal cost would be too high relative to the amount in question, or whatever.

Or the lawyer might be willing to do it on contingency.

mouses
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by mouses » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:10 pm

I would contact the attorney who contacted you. Even if he is not still in business, you may be able to reach him. If he is ethical, he ought to be able to do something about this especially since the responsible person is a family member. Since the attorney was presumably the trust attorney he may himself be on the hook.

I am not an attorney, but I handled my late Mom's trust. I kept the beneficiaries informed, but I had no responsibility to inform any court about trust stuff, just estate stuff, and the latter was minimal since everything went into the trust in her case.

However, I am remembering that the CPA had to issue forms to the beneficiaries about the distributions to them. I have spaced out on the tax returns since the CPA did them, not me, but I think there is a possibility of tax fraud here. Also at least the forms would show either you did not receive the bequest or he cooked up a false form.

Myself, if contacting the attorney resulted in nothing, I would have a consultation with an attorney. perhaps the attorney who represented you in the divorce. You don't want to spend a ton of money on this, but ethically it is theft.

I wish you had not waited 7 years.

Update the more I think about this, the more I think your ex filed false statements when he (presumably) closed the estate.

You have every right to "chase this money." I think your FIL would want you to do this.

User avatar
JaneyLH
Posts: 390
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:16 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by JaneyLH » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:32 pm

mouses wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:10 pm
I would contact the attorney who contacted you. Even if he is not still in business, you may be able to reach him. If he is ethical, he ought to be able to do something about this especially since the responsible person is a family member. Since the attorney was presumably the trust attorney he may himself be on the hook.

I am not an attorney, but I handled my late Mom's trust. I kept the beneficiaries informed, but I had no responsibility to inform any court about trust stuff, just estate stuff, and the latter was minimal since everything went into the trust in her case.

However, I am remembering that the CPA had to issue forms to the beneficiaries about the distributions to them. I have spaced out on the tax returns since the CPA did them, not me, but I think there is a possibility of tax fraud here. Also at least the forms would show either you did not receive the bequest or he cooked up a false form.

Myself, if contacting the attorney resulted in nothing, I would have a consultation with an attorney. perhaps the attorney who represented you in the divorce. You don't want to spend a ton of money on this, but ethically it is theft.

I wish you had not waited 7 years.

Update the more I think about this, the more I think your ex filed false statements when he (presumably) closed the estate.

You have every right to "chase this money." I think your FIL would want you to do this.
Thank you so much for your honest feedback. I've been thinking about posting my questions on this for at least a couple of years... and felt like I am at fault because I didn't take action. You are giving me a shot of confidence. I agree that my FIL would want me to have the money, as it was something he went out of his way to arrange.

I also wish I hadn't waited, but the thought of having any sort of contact with my ex-husband was enough to make me reconsider taking any action. But when I think of that wonderful man and his wife taking me on camping trips and playing a major part in my remarriage, it makes me feel bad that I just gave up the ghost on his final gesture to me.

123
Posts: 3632
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by 123 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:00 am

You may want to check state unclaimed property records (usually online) in the states of death as well as the state of residence of the executor to see if the funds you were due, under your name, got escheated to the state along the way because they either lost track of you or the funds got "misdirected". I'm not saying it happened but forwarding funds to a state unclaimed property office in your name is one way of disbursing funds without you actually receiving them.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

User avatar
celia
Posts: 8230
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by celia » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:17 am

It is also possible that the trust never closed due to laziness or spite or even having the trustee resign (after taking his share). It would be up to a lawyer to find out for you, since you are unwilling to contact the trustee yourself.

Cruise
Posts: 612
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by Cruise » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:18 am

OP: Were the circumstances leading to your divorce involve physical or mental abuse? If so, do not re-engage your husband or the lawyer. Walk away and forget you were ever named a beneficiary.

mouses
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by mouses » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:31 am

Cruise wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:18 am
OP: Were the circumstances leading to your divorce involve physical or mental abuse? If so, do not re-engage your husband or the lawyer. Walk away and forget you were ever named a beneficiary.
I really disagree with this, unless the ex is a complete nut. There is no reason to believe the stepfather attorney is a nut, and the OP could deal with him or her attorney could. There seems to me to be no reason the OP has to deal with the ex directly. Stealing $10,000 is just another form of abuse.

Cruise
Posts: 612
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by Cruise » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:39 am

mouses wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:31 am
Cruise wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:18 am
OP: Were the circumstances leading to your divorce involve physical or mental abuse? If so, do not re-engage your husband or the lawyer. Walk away and forget you were ever named a beneficiary.
I really disagree with this, unless the ex is a complete nut. There is no reason to believe the stepfather attorney is a nut, and the OP could deal with him or her attorney could. There seems to me to be no reason the OP has to deal with the ex directly. Stealing $10,000 is just another form of abuse.
I have a lot of experience in these matters. I think you don’t really appreciate the situation.

User avatar
Tamarind
Posts: 1136
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:38 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by Tamarind » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:04 am

Cruise wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:39 am
mouses wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:31 am
Cruise wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:18 am
OP: Were the circumstances leading to your divorce involve physical or mental abuse? If so, do not re-engage your husband or the lawyer. Walk away and forget you were ever named a beneficiary.
I really disagree with this, unless the ex is a complete nut. There is no reason to believe the stepfather attorney is a nut, and the OP could deal with him or her attorney could. There seems to me to be no reason the OP has to deal with the ex directly. Stealing $10,000 is just another form of abuse.
I have a lot of experience in these matters. I think you don’t really appreciate the situation.
I also would not suggest re-engaging directly if the ex-spouse was abusive and does not currently know where OP is. Honoring FIL's wishes would not be worth the risk, even though it's unfair. I have seen with friends how high the cost can be of coming to the attention of a predatory person. OP has managed without the bequest for 7 years.

In that event I would say to OP that you are not at fault. Your FIL clearly supported you rebuilding your life, and would likely want your happiness over and above the carrying out of his legal document. There is no way to pursue the bequest that is not going to involve your ex knowing you are doing it.

But perhaps contacting the original attorney would be worthwhile. And OP may clarify if she has reason to fear, or simply wanted to avoid reopening a very painful chapter.

JoeRetire
Posts: 1500
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by JoeRetire » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:08 am

JaneyLH wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:49 pm
My former father-in-law passed away in 2011 and left me a bequest of $10,000. His attorney contacted me to double-check my contact information, then sent me a copy of his estate trust and a notification that I was a trust beneficiary. His stepson, my ex-husband, is the trustee.

I have never received any further communications or payment

It occurs to me that my ex just didn't want me to have the money, and that bothers me -- not so much that I need the money, but that his stepfather's intentions have perhaps been ignored.

Is there a law that requires a trustee to execute these duties?
Yes. Executors/trustees are required to close the estate.
Is there any court filing that would show whether the probate has been settled?
Yes. There are filings in the county where the probate occurred.
Other than contacting my ex-husband directly, is there any other course of action I could take? I know I could hire a lawyer to look into this, but the whole thing is upsetting and it's been easier for me to just ignore it.
Your lawyer could do the research and contact the appropriate parties. Or you could contact the estate's lawyer.

It was a mistake to ignore it for so long. Most likely, you'll end up with nothing now or have to pay most of it in lawyers' fees.

dekecarver
Posts: 289
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:24 am

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by dekecarver » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:14 am

Sometimes the best decision is to walk away from money, what you get in return can be far more valuable.

Katietsu
Posts: 1545
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by Katietsu » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:17 am

I could drop by my county courthouse and they would assist in looking up all the documents filed relating to the deceased’s estate and trust. Just another avenue to consider.

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 2029
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:58 am

Probate gets monitored very well by the courts. The trust is the wild wild west. No one is in charge of watching the trustee, or making sure he carries out the terms of the trust. The only enforcement mechanism is letting the beneficiaries know the terms of the trust, so that they can sue if they feel they were not carried out properly. A bank or corporate trustee would have a team of lawyers and follow the letter of the trust because they want to make money and avoid lawsuits, but if Uncle Fred is trustee there is no telling what will happen.

So without any more information than you have provided, my guess is that your ex just decided to cut you out of distributions. You can sue, or take him to small claims court depending on the limit in your state, but that's probably about as much as you can do. I'm sorry your FIL trusted him with this.

Nutmeg
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:52 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by Nutmeg » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:05 am

Some of the responses you have received so far seem to demonstrate confusion about the difference between a will and a trust.

The purpose of a trust in some cases is to avoid probate (in simple terms, court supervision). It is irrelevant whether the estate has been settled or what the court records contain if the will provided that the property would be transferred to a trust, as the OP states. The OP also stated that she is a beneficiary of the trust, not of the estate, so trust law is what governs.

The ultimate remedy for failure to pay a beneficiary of a trust is a lawsuit for breach of trust. States have varying statutes of limitations for breach of trust. In one state with which I am familiar, the statute of limitations (after which a lawsuit is barred) is five years after the breach occurs. That state also requires that trustees make annual reports to beneficiaries of the trust. If I recall correctly, the law in that state requires that trustees act expeditiously.

The OP can either write directly to the lawyer who initially wrote to her, or can hire a lawyer to handle this on her behalf. In the circumstances described, I would recommend hiring a lawyer to make the initial contact. The OP can decide at any point how far she wishes to pursue this.

When consulting an attorney, you can save the attorney time (and save yourself money) by gathering all documents that could even possibly be relevant and making a list of pertinent dates.

When planning one’s own estate, a person should consider whether a potential trustee is entirely trustworthy and competent. Many people want to avoid probate at all costs, but the ultimate cost of distributing assets can be high if the intended beneficiaries have to engage attorneys to receive their distributions.

Nutmeg
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:52 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by Nutmeg » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:17 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:58 am
Probate gets monitored very well by the courts. The trust is the wild wild west. No one is in charge of watching the trustee, or making sure he carries out the terms of the trust. The only enforcement mechanism is letting the beneficiaries know the terms of the trust, so that they can sue if they feel they were not carried out properly. A bank or corporate trustee would have a team of lawyers and follow the letter of the trust because they want to make money and avoid lawsuits, but if Uncle Fred is trustee there is no telling what will happen.
I agree. This is well said.

Many people want to avoid the expense of a corporate trustee (as well as the expense of an attorney in probate) but might fail to consider the hidden costs of having an individual trustee who is immoral or incompetent.

User avatar
8foot7
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:29 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:31 am

My suspicion is that seven years most likely puts whatever problematic action your ex-husband did or did not take well past your state's statute of limitations. It might be worth a couple hundred bucks with an estate attorney to understand the picture here as it relates to your state, but I suspect you may have sat on this for too long to actually be able to do much about it.

I can echo what others have said: if you were due something as part of a will as a beneficiary of the will, then the court would have overseen the process and ensured you got your disbursement from the estate. I've watched this happen several times--images of checks, copies of cancelled checks, and signed receipts were required as part of settling the estate and closing our probate. Your ex would have had to fraudulently sign your name in order to have cheated that. Even if he did, the SOL comes into play.

I hate, hate, hate that for you because I'm a big principle guy, but the lawyer I know would want you to front $5,000 to go after the $10,000, and if the defendant is an abusive ex, well, let's put it this way: I'd probably pay another $10,000 to never have to talk to my ex-wife again, so...

ResearchMed
Posts: 7080
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:54 am

Tamarind wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:04 am
Cruise wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:39 am
mouses wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:31 am
Cruise wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:18 am
OP: Were the circumstances leading to your divorce involve physical or mental abuse? If so, do not re-engage your husband or the lawyer. Walk away and forget you were ever named a beneficiary.
I really disagree with this, unless the ex is a complete nut. There is no reason to believe the stepfather attorney is a nut, and the OP could deal with him or her attorney could. There seems to me to be no reason the OP has to deal with the ex directly. Stealing $10,000 is just another form of abuse.
I have a lot of experience in these matters. I think you don’t really appreciate the situation.
I also would not suggest re-engaging directly if the ex-spouse was abusive and does not currently know where OP is. Honoring FIL's wishes would not be worth the risk, even though it's unfair. I have seen with friends how high the cost can be of coming to the attention of a predatory person. OP has managed without the bequest for 7 years.

In that event I would say to OP that you are not at fault. Your FIL clearly supported you rebuilding your life, and would likely want your happiness over and above the carrying out of his legal document. There is no way to pursue the bequest that is not going to involve your ex knowing you are doing it.

But perhaps contacting the original attorney would be worthwhile. And OP may clarify if she has reason to fear, or simply wanted to avoid reopening a very painful chapter.
I know there are other posts further down, and I haven't read those yet.

However, I really wanted to highlight one sentence from Tamarind, in red above.

IF the $10k (perhaps a bit more with interest IF it's recovered at all) does not mean anything in terms of your financial security or what you eat next week or where you vacation next year, then... is it worth any hassle?

The only thing I could see in that case is somehow "letting ex know he didn't get away with the $10k".
Only you can evaluate the pros/cons of that. I suspect there was enough negative... such that you didn't take action sooner...
There are probably a lot of people who get away with obligations (including like child support) precisely because they guess correctly that the other party just won't want to engage. And that can be a nagging memory, even if it "shouldn't".
(Yeah, been there briefly...)

So it's however YOU feel, but don't feel an obligation to former FIL, who clearly wanted you to be happy and successful, etc.

Good luck, however this works out.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

PoundCake
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:23 am

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by PoundCake » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:31 am

There have been several comments here about probate processes being closely watched by the courts, but many jurisdictions also permit unsupervised probate. With unsupervised probate, the executor/PR simply needs to file/submit certain documents according to the probate code -- e.g., a list of interested parties, proof of notice to creditors, the inventory, etc. -- but the executor/PR is otherwise left alone to administer the estate. The only thing keeping the executor/PR honest is his or her conscience and the other beneficiaries.

I was the PR for my mother's estate and handled it with unsupervised probate. As it took a while to set things up and get money flowing into the estate to pay her bills, I paid most of the bills for the first several months, including all the funeral expenses. I traveled to another state to clean out her house and sell it, etc., but there was no oversight any of my expenditures, and so no oversight over my reimbursement. That's the way that unsupervised estate administration works.

I want to be clear: I kept receipts for everything, I had a detailed spreadsheet, and I repeatedly sent my spreadsheet to my siblings, the other residuary beneficiaries of the estate. But it's not too difficult to see how these situations could work differently, if one was inclined to skim off the top, etc.

Nutmeg
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:52 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by Nutmeg » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:51 am

The statute of limitations may or may not have run. It might not yet have begun to run. Not enough information has been provided for us to determine that.

Whether the OP’s claim is barred is determined by the laws of the state in which the trust is located (probably the state of residence of the grantor of the trust) and whether the event that caused the SOL to begin to run has occurred. The statute probably doesn’t begin to run at the death of the grantor or the date of the notice that a claim against the trust exists (I.e., the seven year period that is being discussed), but rather on a date related to a claim for breach of trust. While the trustee has been apparently been slow-walking this, it is possible that the breach hasn’t yet occurred. It could be that the trust has extensive real property that needs to be liquidated before all monetary claims can be satisfied, for example.

Additional information that would be required might include:
1. In which state was the trust formed?
2. Has the trust been terminated?
3. What do the terms of the trust say about the termination of the trust?
4. Have you received any additional information about the trust, for example, a notice of final accounting?

A discussion with additional information can be found here:
https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/breac ... ons-13744/

I recommend that the OP consult her trusts and estates attorney. If she doesn’t have one yet, it might be a good time to prepare her own will.
Last edited by Nutmeg on Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

littlebird
Posts: 1398
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:05 pm
Location: Valley of the Sun, AZ

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by littlebird » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:00 pm

Did he leave the money to you by name? Or to “my daughter-in -law” ? If the latter and he wrote the bequest provision while you were still married to his son and didn’t amend it later, state law may have come into play.

bsteiner
Posts: 3440
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:39 pm
Location: NYC/NJ/FL

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by bsteiner » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:02 pm

PoundCake wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:31 am
There have been several comments here about probate processes being closely watched by the courts, ....
That varies considerably from state to state.

The original poster might start by asking the lawyer who contacted her.

PoundCake
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:23 am

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by PoundCake » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:11 pm

bsteiner wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:02 pm
PoundCake wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:31 am
There have been several comments here about probate processes being closely watched by the courts, ....
That varies considerably from state to state.

The original poster might start by asking the lawyer who contacted her.
I completely agree. I just don't want people to be under the misimpression that probate always equates to oversight.

User avatar
JaneyLH
Posts: 390
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:16 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by JaneyLH » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:50 pm

Many thanks to everyone who replied. There is always a wealth of wisdom to be mined here!

My takeaway from all this good advice is that I don't care enough about a relatively small bequest to get a lawyer involved or try to collect it in some fashion. I am more interested in obtaining closure, and confirming if my ex-husband really did intentionally cheat me. We did not have an abusive relationship, but after 21 years of marriage he walked away without any advance notice and lied about the reason. Having no children and considering the feelings of my second husband, I decided to end any contact with him.

I've written to both the original lawyer who notified me of the bequest, and also to the probate court in California (I'm in a different state) to see if I can satisfy my curiosity about the disposition of the matter. I suspect the lawyer will refer me to my ex-husband and am not optimistic about locating any court records, but that's as far as I plan to take it. Life is too short to waste time on things like this.

mouses
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by mouses » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:51 pm

Let us know what happens, if you don't mind.

Regardless of what happens, you know your FIL loved you, and that's the important thing.

JBTX
Posts: 3926
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by JBTX » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:19 pm

My gut reaction from the outside, and with the limited information, that it just isn't worth it to chase after $10k. And while the FIL clearly wanted OP to have money, would FIL want his son embroiled in a civil or even criminal malfeasance investigation?

But that is just from the outside. The reality is emotions play a big factor in these things and no one here can advise the appropriate way to process all of those feelings.

As a general aside, this really gives a different POV on trusts. For all the hyping of RLTS and their probate avoidance, there clearly can be a downside to that avoidance.

mouses
Posts: 3646
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by mouses » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:24 am

JBTX wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:19 pm
My gut reaction from the outside, and with the limited information, that it just isn't worth it to chase after $10k. And while the FIL clearly wanted OP to have money, would FIL want his son embroiled in a civil or even criminal malfeasance investigation?
Civil is one thing, criminal is another. I have the quaint notion that people should be called to account for theft, at least exposed as thieves, even if no action is taken.

User avatar
JaneyLH
Posts: 390
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:16 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by JaneyLH » Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:12 pm

JBTX wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:19 pm
My gut reaction from the outside, and with the limited information, that it just isn't worth it to chase after $10k. And while the FIL clearly wanted OP to have money, would FIL want his son embroiled in a civil or even criminal malfeasance investigation?
Actually, my former FIL was not my ex-husband's father. His wife was not my ex's real mother, either. FIL was married to my ex-husband's adoptive mother. His real mother was a mental case, in and out of Belleville in NYC. My ex somehow pushed my former FIL to change his trustee on his trust from his own son, arguing more business experience. Ha! He never had a full time job again after he remarried! His new wife supported him while he went back to college to earn a masters degree in non-profit organization management, which he never used. Ever since, his Facebook page says he works on a contract basis.

Interesting family history... ex's father (my real FIL, I guess) was married 7 times (that I know of, he might have had one or two more after I was out of the picture.) He married each time for wife's money and didn't have a real occupation either. Like father, like son. My ex-husband was borne by wife #3, only he didn't learn about wife #1 until he was in college. That man had 2 brothers, one was married 8 times and the other never married. I should have seen something weird coming!

I will re-post with anything further I find out. And I am going to revise my own trust. If my current, wonderful husband should not be able to be the trustee when I am gone, I'm going to use Wells Fargo. I have no relatives other than 3 cousins I haven't seen since childhood and this makes the most sense to me now, knowing how "the trustee makes the trust" unless someone is willing to sue.

User avatar
JaneyLH
Posts: 390
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:16 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by JaneyLH » Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:17 pm

[/quote]
Civil is one thing, criminal is another. I have the quaint notion that people should be called to account for theft, at least exposed as thieves, even if no action is taken.
[/quote]

Yes, that is what is in the back of my mind. At least the original attorney who drew up the trust will know, if it never goes anywhere else. I have to go mail the letter, just finished it!

I just checked Zillow and find that the ex-husband's house (or actually his wife's, she owned it before they hooked up) is worth $3.6M. So I guess he needed the $10K for walking around money. :greedy

User avatar
arcticpineapplecorp.
Posts: 3135
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:09 pm

JaneyLH wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:17 pm
Civil is one thing, criminal is another. I have the quaint notion that people should be called to account for theft, at least exposed as thieves, even if no action is taken.

Yes, that is what is in the back of my mind. At least the original attorney who drew up the trust will know, if it never goes anywhere else. I have to go mail the letter, just finished it!

I just checked Zillow and find that the ex-husband's house (or actually his wife's, she owned it before they hooked up) is worth $3.6M. So I guess he needed the $10K for walking around money. :greedy
sorry about your situation. With legal matters, should you send your letter certified mail so you have proof you sent it and it was received by the lawyer so there's not an opportunity for anyone to say "Letter? What letter? I never got any letter."

Also, despite your ex's past behaviors, I wouldn't assume or jump to conclusions that he received/spent the money. You don't know what happened. It's likely the trust closed, but you don't know. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Do let us know how it goes. Hopefully you can get what's yours.

Also, for those who said $10,000 isn't worth going after, might I ask what your personal cutoff is where you would feel it is worth pursuing (and not 1 penny less)?
"Invest we must." -- Jack Bogle | “The purpose of investing is not to simply optimise returns and make yourself rich. The purpose is not to die poor.” -- William Bernstein

JBTX
Posts: 3926
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by JBTX » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:15 pm

JaneyLH wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:12 pm
JBTX wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:19 pm
My gut reaction from the outside, and with the limited information, that it just isn't worth it to chase after $10k. And while the FIL clearly wanted OP to have money, would FIL want his son embroiled in a civil or even criminal malfeasance investigation?
Actually, my former FIL was not my ex-husband's father. His wife was not my ex's real mother, either. FIL was married to my ex-husband's adoptive mother. His real mother was a mental case, in and out of Belleville in NYC. My ex somehow pushed my former FIL to change his trustee on his trust from his own son, arguing more business experience. Ha! He never had a full time job again after he remarried! His new wife supported him while he went back to college to earn a masters degree in non-profit organization management, which he never used. Ever since, his Facebook page says he works on a contract basis.

Interesting family history... ex's father (my real FIL, I guess) was married 7 times (that I know of, he might have had one or two more after I was out of the picture.) He married each time for wife's money and didn't have a real occupation either. Like father, like son. My ex-husband was borne by wife #3, only he didn't learn about wife #1 until he was in college. That man had 2 brothers, one was married 8 times and the other never married. I should have seen something weird coming!

I will re-post with anything further I find out. And I am going to revise my own trust. If my current, wonderful husband should not be able to be the trustee when I am gone, I'm going to use Wells Fargo. I have no relatives other than 3 cousins I haven't seen since childhood and this makes the most sense to me now, knowing how "the trustee makes the trust" unless someone is willing to sue.
That's quite a family story. Your ex got it from both sides!

dekecarver
Posts: 289
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:24 am

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by dekecarver » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:46 pm

Just a word of caution, when you decide to act, ask yourself what is the real objective of your action and are you prepared for the potential outcome. Sometimes things are better left alone especially after some time has passed. Time does heal wounds, scars last forever but reopening wounds for the wrong reason can lead to misery by 1000 cuts.

User avatar
8foot7
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:29 pm

Re: Ex-Spouse and Will Executor Hasn't Paid Bequest

Post by 8foot7 » Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:33 pm

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:09 pm
Also, for those who said $10,000 isn't worth going after, might I ask what your personal cutoff is where you would feel it is worth pursuing (and not 1 penny less)?
Probably $10,000 net. Bu I suspect in this case OP would spend 5k to *possibly* get $10k and given the nature of who she is dealing with, that wouldn’t move the needle enough to be worth it

Post Reply