Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Topic Author
neverpanic
Posts: 584
Joined: Sun May 10, 2020 12:26 am

Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by neverpanic »

Without going into all the family dynamics (because they are mostly wonderful), there is a dispute over the settling of our father's estate.

My sister did spend more time with our dad over the past decade before he passed. He did share with her things I'm not supposed to know. But he never signed his will. They told me everything was taken care of 4-5 years ago and then within the past couple of years, reiterated as much: "Don't worry about it - everything is done." She told me he had filed a trust, but that never actually happened.

I have no claims to any of our father's money. I also have no claims to any of his land, artwork, or collectibles. I would like a few pieces, nothing major. But I know he intended for a share of what he had to skip me and go to my offspring, with an intense desire to keep the land in the family for generations to come.

According to her, he granted my sister right of first refusal on all artwork and collectibles. Although I disagree with the spirit of that (what if she decides she wants everything and then simply sells it?), I'm not going to fight it. There's only a single painting that's been an ongoing concern between us for 20 years, but if she truly does have right of first refusal, then I suppose that matter is settled. There is plenty of everything else to split. My desire for a few collector pieces is relative to memories and the desire to have heirlooms.

My question is whether monetary distributions can be held on sole authority of the executor without any signed documentation to that effect. The issue is not about entitlement. Again, I make no claim to any cash for myself. There is no concern about the executor taking more than she is entitled to. My concern is that the executor is quite content to let cash languish in low-interest CDs and savings bonds before starting distributions in 2030 and I am opposed to that. I am willing to concede the savings bonds, but it’s my position that most of what’s currently in CDs (at 0.05%) should be in equities or real estate. All I have is her statement that "this is what Dad wanted" and while it does sound like something he may have said, he never said it to me or put it in writing. She knows that I won't take her to court, but I would like to know whether an executor-heir can act in this manner. I do not know or have any idea what the will "would have said" with respect to future distributions.
Last edited by neverpanic on Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
JohnFiscal
Posts: 853
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:28 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by JohnFiscal »

Are there just the two of you? No other siblings or offspring?

I would consult with a local attorney on any questions you might have. And don't let your sister or the executor (if another sibling) take you for a ride on that power trip.
McDougal
Posts: 227
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:42 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by McDougal »

IANAL but with no will, how is she the executor? May depend on the state, and several other factors. You may end up in court.
Gill
Posts: 6975
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:38 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Gill »

Has your sister been appointed personal representative by the court? All the conversation about what your father wanted is irrelevant if he didn't incorporate his wishes in a will. Can you and your sister be appointed co-personal representatives? It's not clear from your post where things now stand. Why would distributions wait until 2030? A PR of an estate should not be buying equities.
Gill
Last edited by Gill on Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Cost basis is redundant. One has a basis in an investment | One advises and gives advice | One should follow the principle of investing one's principal
sport
Posts: 9846
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by sport »

If you are afraid your sister will sell things you want to keep, it would be better to contact an attorney sooner rather than later. Once things are sold, you will never get them back.
Vanguard Fan 1367
Posts: 1891
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:09 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 »

If I read this correctly and Father died intestate then there is a will written up by the state for such circumstances. I went to a seminar in Florida and the attorney/speaker handed out a copy of Florida's will for intestate persons.

It sounds like you want to work out things based on things that were said. But like another poster said there is a legal way to divide the estate. An attorney perhaps could help.

My Father in Law died intestate and my mother in law did a pretty good job of following the law. It wasn't probably the best way to divide things but it worked out.

The old classic "if it wasn't written down it didn't happen." I certainly would recommend that folks make wills. Otherwise the state has one ready for you.
Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
Carefreeap
Posts: 2929
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:36 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Carefreeap »

Is your sister really an estate atty?

If your father died intestate then distributions are going to follow the laws of the state he died in. You can Google your state's name and "intestate laws" and get an idea of how they work.

It sounds like this estate is substantial. If this is the case then I would find myself a very good estate atty. There's nothing wrong with negotiating to get your share (to distribute to whomever you want).

And don't let the petty stuff get in the way. Low interest cash is important in an estate in order to pay bills et cetera until the estate is settled. Even simple well organized estates can take a year or more to settle,

Good luck!
Every day I can hike is a good day.
Lee_WSP
Posts: 3761
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:15 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Lee_WSP »

When there are two surviving children and no spouse, there is no state that I know of that would divide things up differently under intestacy. The heirs split everything equally/equitably. That's that. What that actually means is up to the heirs to figure out.

As for how long she can drag out probate, I do not know. I do know that you need to consult an attorney and be prepared for legal battles.
Mr. Rumples
Posts: 1106
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:16 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Mr. Rumples »

A few things are unclear. Has she been legally appointed executor by the appropriate court? Apparently, there is no will to file with the court for the court to accept; therefore, it she seems to be just winging it which frankly is not legal. What is the timeline for estate settlement in your state? Is that being adhered to by her if she is legally the executor? Has she paid fees to the court? Who is filing taxes? Why is the money being held for 10 years? You can certainly decide not to inherit items/money but your state will have a process for that; that protects you and her.

In short, an executor must follow the law and ignorance of it is no excuse. Without a will, what someone "said" means nothing. Seems like you may need an attorney to ensure everything is done right.
Topic Author
neverpanic
Posts: 584
Joined: Sun May 10, 2020 12:26 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by neverpanic »

McDougal wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:03 pm IANAL but with no will, how is she the executor? May depend on the state, and several other factors. You may end up in court.
Excellent question. Their home state has a provision which allows the surviving spouse to renounce executorship at the county court. Our mother has verbally agreed to it and I do not intend to challenge. For now, my sister is handling things as if it's a foregone conclusion that our mother will go to the courthouse to do it.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by tadamsmar »

The only relevant fact that I can find in your OP is that your father died intestate.

1. The legal division is spelled out in your state's "intestate laws". Google it.

2. The executor will be (or was) approved by the courts.

If there is already an appointed executor then it's probably hard to dispute that unless the executor has missed a filing deadline or somehow not followed the rules.

But, since you are an heir, you can get all the records filed with he clerk of court and determine if the inventory is correct. You should get your portion of it under the intestate laws. If you may be able let your part skip you and pass to your kids, but consult a lawyer on that.

If the inventory not correct or the laws are not being followed then you can do something about that, and if the inventories are not filed on schedule then you can do something about that. You probably should use a lawyer for disputing any of this.

I think you should pay for an hour of time with a lawyer, this will clarify a the situation for you. You will know where you stand and fret a lot less.
Last edited by tadamsmar on Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by tadamsmar »

"My question is whether monetary distributions can be held on sole authority of the executor without any signed documentation to that effect."

I don't think so. Assets need to be appraised to determine market value. And the estate needs to be divided according to the intestate laws of the state of your father.
Last edited by tadamsmar on Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by tadamsmar »

"She knows that I won't take her to court"

Really? I would take her to court if she does not follow the rules. She should know that. My brother knew that years before our last parent died. I went to a lawyer earlier and told him what my rights were. Things went smoothly later.

I spent an hour with a lawyer mostly on a different matter. I spent less that 5 minutes asking about the division of a farm in an estate. That 5 minutes made all the difference.
Last edited by tadamsmar on Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Outer Marker
Posts: 1307
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:01 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Outer Marker »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 3:46 pm ... he never signed his will. ... She told me he had filed a trust, but that never actually happened.

I have no claims to any of our father's money. I also have no claims to any of his land, artwork, or collectibles. I would like a few pieces, nothing major. But I know he intended for a share of what he had to skip me and go to my offspring, with an intense desire to keep the land in the family for generations to come.

According to her, he granted my sister . . .

. . . My concern is that the executor is quite content to let cash languish in low-interest CDs and savings bonds before starting distributions in 2030 and I am opposed to that.
If your father died without a will or an effective trust, the laws of the State will determine inheritance and distribution of the estate. The Court will appoint an Administrator.
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/in ... eficiaries.

Whatever your father may have said and whatever your sister may claim is irrelevant. No will is no will, and the default provisions of state law will govern. You almost certainly have a claim to a share of your father's estate. Whether you chose not to accept it and have it flow through to the next generation is up to you.

It makes no sense that the funds would not be distributed for 10 years. They should be disbursed as soon as probate is complete.

If you and your sister can't come to terms on minor things like a given piece of artwork, recommend you retain a mediator.
Lee_WSP
Posts: 3761
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:15 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Lee_WSP »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:13 pm
McDougal wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:03 pm IANAL but with no will, how is she the executor? May depend on the state, and several other factors. You may end up in court.
Excellent question. Their home state has a provision which allows the surviving spouse to renounce executorship at the county court. Our mother has verbally agreed to it and I do not intend to challenge. For now, my sister is handling things as if it's a foregone conclusion that our mother will go to the courthouse to do it.
Were they still married at death? That would significantly change the intestacy situation.
Topic Author
neverpanic
Posts: 584
Joined: Sun May 10, 2020 12:26 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by neverpanic »

Lee_WSP wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:08 pm
neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:13 pm
McDougal wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:03 pm IANAL but with no will, how is she the executor? May depend on the state, and several other factors. You may end up in court.
Excellent question. Their home state has a provision which allows the surviving spouse to renounce executorship at the county court. Our mother has verbally agreed to it and I do not intend to challenge. For now, my sister is handling things as if it's a foregone conclusion that our mother will go to the courthouse to do it.
Were they still married at death? That would significantly change the intestacy situation.
Yes. By law, our mother receives a small sum off the top and everything else is split 3 ways. My sister reports he verbally designated some charitable gifts, and I don't believe any of us will question those.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
Gill
Posts: 6975
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:38 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Gill »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:33 pm
Lee_WSP wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:08 pm
neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:13 pm
McDougal wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:03 pm IANAL but with no will, how is she the executor? May depend on the state, and several other factors. You may end up in court.
Excellent question. Their home state has a provision which allows the surviving spouse to renounce executorship at the county court. Our mother has verbally agreed to it and I do not intend to challenge. For now, my sister is handling things as if it's a foregone conclusion that our mother will go to the courthouse to do it.
Were they still married at death? That would significantly change the intestacy situation.
Yes. By law, our mother receives a small sum off the top and everything else is split 3 ways. My sister reports he verbally designated some charitable gifts, and I don't believe any of us will question those.
A small sum? In virtually every state a surviving spouse is entitled to at least half.
Gill
Cost basis is redundant. One has a basis in an investment | One advises and gives advice | One should follow the principle of investing one's principal
Outer Marker
Posts: 1307
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:01 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Outer Marker »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:33 pm Yes. By law, our mother receives a small sum off the top and everything else is split 3 ways. My sister reports he verbally designated some charitable gifts, and I don't believe any of us will question those.
Neverpanic, you seem to be flying blind without a clear working knowledge of your state's laws. Given the apparent unfriendly dynamic with your sister, I would not take her word for anything. Your mother could well receive the entire estate in the majority of states, but is almost certain to receive a half to a third. You need to thoroughly research this and/or hire an attorney or contact legal aid. https://www.merrilledge.com/article/my- ... 20marriage.

I don't mean to pry into your family situation, but this sounds like a potentially complex estate and inheritance issue with unusual intentions and motives. If your mom gets the estate, make sure she has a plan that accurately reflects her wishes. This may be the end of the entire current situation, and will certainly avoid complications down the road when she passes.
aristotelian
Posts: 8624
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by aristotelian »

If you are not willing to go to court, then there is nothing to do but let your sister take over and let the process run its course. If you are willing to contest, you should speak to an attorney and see what you might be entitled to.
Outer Marker
Posts: 1307
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:01 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Outer Marker »

aristotelian wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:58 pm If you are not willing to go to court, then there is nothing to do but let your sister take over and let the process run its course. If you are willing to contest, you should speak to an attorney and see what you might be entitled to.
I think this has to go to court, i.e., probate. Its just a matter of making sure the State's process is observed and properly administered. Now, if you're talking about litigating it with your sister, that's a whole different matter. The State should provide adequate guard rails and hopefully you can work out any minor disagreements.
Big Dog
Posts: 2227
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:12 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Big Dog »

My concern is that the executor is quite content to let cash languish in low-interest CDs and savings bonds before starting distributions in 2030 and I am opposed to that. I am willing to concede the savings bonds, but it’s my position that most of what’s currently in CDs (at 0.05%) should be in equities or real estate.
You are incorrect on this. As Executor, her role is first and foremost to preserve the principal...


As the others have noted, if your dad really had no will and no signed trust document then state law applies. Google intestate for your state.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by tadamsmar »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:33 pm
Lee_WSP wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:08 pm
neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:13 pm
McDougal wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:03 pm IANAL but with no will, how is she the executor? May depend on the state, and several other factors. You may end up in court.
Excellent question. Their home state has a provision which allows the surviving spouse to renounce executorship at the county court. Our mother has verbally agreed to it and I do not intend to challenge. For now, my sister is handling things as if it's a foregone conclusion that our mother will go to the courthouse to do it.
Were they still married at death? That would significantly change the intestacy situation.
Yes. By law, our mother receives a small sum off the top and everything else is split 3 ways. My sister reports he verbally designated some charitable gifts, and I don't believe any of us will question those.
What state did your father reside in?
000
Posts: 4100
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:04 am
Location: Gone

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by 000 »

I think you should schedule a meeting with an attorney, i.e. start looking up some law firms over the weekend and making calls on Monday.
Hustlinghustling
Posts: 226
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:09 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Hustlinghustling »

Personally, I'd consider court battles and attorney involvement amongst family member disagreements a last resort option. But this is something deeply cultural and personal I understand that varies with everyone.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by tadamsmar »

Hustlinghustling wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:22 pm Personally, I'd consider court battles and attorney involvement amongst family member disagreements a last resort option. But this is something deeply cultural and personal I understand that varies with everyone.
In my experience simply informing your family members that you talked to a lawyer and know your legal right tends to prevent family member disagreements. Mostly the agreements are among family members where they don't know each others legal rights. The law tends to be fair. Ignorant family coercion among members who don't know each other's rights tends to be unfair. I have seen this at least 3 times in my extended family.
Lee_WSP
Posts: 3761
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:15 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Lee_WSP »

Hustlinghustling wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:22 pm Personally, I'd consider court battles and attorney involvement amongst family member disagreements a last resort option. But this is something deeply cultural and personal I understand that varies with everyone.
Huge difference between knowing what the law says vs litigating a tiny dispute.
000
Posts: 4100
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:04 am
Location: Gone

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by 000 »

Hustlinghustling wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:22 pm Personally, I'd consider court battles and attorney involvement amongst family member disagreements a last resort option. But this is something deeply cultural and personal I understand that varies with everyone.
The OP does not seem to understand even the basics here, like that the unsigned will and anything else his father supposedly said are likely irrelevant, and that the surviving spouse (not OP's sister) is very likely to get most of the estate.

Nothing wrong with getting a consult from an attorney to help OP understand the specifics.
Topic Author
neverpanic
Posts: 584
Joined: Sun May 10, 2020 12:26 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by neverpanic »

Carefreeap wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:13 pm Is your sister really an estate atty?

If your father died intestate then distributions are going to follow the laws of the state he died in. You can Google your state's name and "intestate laws" and get an idea of how they work.

It sounds like this estate is substantial. If this is the case then I would find myself a very good estate atty. There's nothing wrong with negotiating to get your share (to distribute to whomever you want).

And don't let the petty stuff get in the way. Low interest cash is important in an estate in order to pay bills et cetera until the estate is settled. Even simple well organized estates can take a year or more to settle,

Good luck!
There isn't much, but it's worth getting right. There is a lot of value in the collectibles, so their plan all along has been to go private sale for most of the more valuable items before bringing in an auction company. The real estate includes a few rentals along with some unoccupied properties that will require cash to rehab and then a few other lots awaiting new construction. IMO, the only value there is legacy ownership, which will come at a cost today that may pay off in 20 years. The rural land is maintained mostly for timber now.

Yes, my sister does estates, so she is fully aware of the applicable law. I don't know how all their conversations went, but I can envision a scenario in which he led her to believe that the trust had been filed. But regarding the will only, it's something that was never discussed with me at all. There was a throwaway comment about 10 years ago, but that was it.

My dad did very little investing in the market. He bought some legacy stock for us years ago, because his father had bought the same. He believed in U.S. savings bonds, CDs, and money market savings. Sadly, this is the sort of philosophy my sister has mostly adopted, stating that she prefers the relative safety of these vehicles.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
Luckywon
Posts: 1215
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:33 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Luckywon »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:33 pm By law, our mother receives a small sum off the top and everything else is split 3 ways. .
From what you have said so far, the intestacy laws of the state your father lived in will govern the distribution of his estate. You will get far more useful answers here if you provide the information of which state that is.
Topic Author
neverpanic
Posts: 584
Joined: Sun May 10, 2020 12:26 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by neverpanic »

000 wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:01 pm The OP does not seem to understand even the basics here, like that the unsigned will and anything else his father supposedly said are likely irrelevant, and that the surviving spouse (not OP's sister) is very likely to get most of the estate.

Nothing wrong with getting a consult from an attorney to help OP understand the specifics.
I do understand the basics. With only 2 children, our mother gets a small lump sum first and everything remaining is divided 3 ways. That's the state law, regardless of whether our mother elects to renounce executorship. If our mother decides she wants to be the executor, there is nothing my sister can do about it.

So, whether the executor will be our mother or my sister, the primary question was whether either would have the authority to delay distributions for a decade absent the instructions within a notarized will or trust. I don't think they can.
I am not a financial professional or guru. I'm a schmuck who got lucky 10 times. Such is the life of the trader.
Lee_WSP
Posts: 3761
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:15 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Lee_WSP »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:14 pm
000 wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:01 pm The OP does not seem to understand even the basics here, like that the unsigned will and anything else his father supposedly said are likely irrelevant, and that the surviving spouse (not OP's sister) is very likely to get most of the estate.

Nothing wrong with getting a consult from an attorney to help OP understand the specifics.
I do understand the basics. With only 2 children, our mother gets a small lump sum first and everything remaining is divided 3 ways. That's the state law, regardless of whether our mother elects to renounce executorship. If our mother decides she wants to be the executor, there is nothing my sister can do about it.

So, whether the executor will be our mother or my sister, the primary question was whether either would have the authority to delay distributions for a decade absent the instructions within a notarized will or trust. I don't think they can.
If you’re not willing to tell us the state we can’t help
User avatar
cchrissyy
Posts: 268
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 10:35 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by cchrissyy »

something is very strange here!
a person can't just assert what a deceased person's intentions were and then begin carrying them out, in the absence of a will and proper legal authority, and I think the strangest part here is he passed away while married to someone and I am no lawyer but I sure would think that means the spouse has a lot of rights in this situation including that the property your sister intends to control may well belong to your mother.

I agree you should consult with a lawyer to understand what is going on, and if your mom was writing this I would give her that same advice, urgently.
increment
Posts: 450
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 2:20 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by increment »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:05 pm I don't know how all their conversations went, but I can envision a scenario in which he led her to believe that the trust had been filed.
What does this mean? At least in some jurisdictions, a trust can be created and assets put in it, without "filing" it anywhere.
User avatar
warowits
Posts: 472
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:38 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by warowits »

Discussing this without knowing the state is a very poor idea.
Hustlinghustling
Posts: 226
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:09 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Hustlinghustling »

000 wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:01 pm
Hustlinghustling wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:22 pm Personally, I'd consider court battles and attorney involvement amongst family member disagreements a last resort option. But this is something deeply cultural and personal I understand that varies with everyone.
The OP does not seem to understand even the basics here, like that the unsigned will and anything else his father supposedly said are likely irrelevant, and that the surviving spouse (not OP's sister) is very likely to get most of the estate.

Nothing wrong with getting a consult from an attorney to help OP understand the specifics.
I understand and not necessarily dissuading. Just saying the mere implication from consulting an attorney that an external authority may ultimately be needed to mediate a family disagreement is a bright line that many non-American cultures would be adverse to cross. Especially in an Asian culture setting. Just a passing thought .. doesn't seem relevant for OP.
User avatar
tadamsmar
Posts: 9164
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 12:33 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by tadamsmar »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:14 pm So, whether the executor will be our mother or my sister, the primary question was whether either would have the authority to delay distributions for a decade absent the instructions within a notarized will or trust. I don't think they can.
It's not a matter of the authority of the executor. The courts have authority over estates, once an executor is authorized by the courts then the executor is an agent of the courts. But the courts will typically not do anything unless the heirs complain to the courts and you seem to be saying that you will never do that. An executor can be removed and even jailed in my state for taking the oath and failing to live up the the oath after being sworn in as executor.

Anyway an heir could get the court to review the situation if the executor took too long to finalize the estate. Taking too long would have to represent some kind of mismanagement by the executor, there would have to be no good reason for it taking that long.

After 10 years, the real primary question will be: why are you not willing to use your authority as an heir?

Edit: Also, after 10 years in my state there would have to be 10 years of inventories filed by the executor. The heirs have a right to get copies of these inventories from the clerk of court. So the executor can review the progress of the executor, or lack of progress. Or the heir may find that the executor is not filing the required inventories. The heir could get a court hearing over the failure to file inventories.
000
Posts: 4100
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:04 am
Location: Gone

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by 000 »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:14 pm
000 wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:01 pm The OP does not seem to understand even the basics here, like that the unsigned will and anything else his father supposedly said are likely irrelevant, and that the surviving spouse (not OP's sister) is very likely to get most of the estate.

Nothing wrong with getting a consult from an attorney to help OP understand the specifics.
I do understand the basics. With only 2 children, our mother gets a small lump sum first and everything remaining is divided 3 ways. That's the state law, regardless of whether our mother elects to renounce executorship. If our mother decides she wants to be the executor, there is nothing my sister can do about it.

So, whether the executor will be our mother or my sister, the primary question was whether either would have the authority to delay distributions for a decade absent the instructions within a notarized will or trust. I don't think they can.
Ok, perhaps I misunderstood your posts. I thought that you thought that your sister had a right to more than 1/3. Good luck.
User avatar
FIREchief
Posts: 5883
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:40 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by FIREchief »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 3:46 pm But he never signed his will.
She told me he had filed a trust, but that never actually happened.
I have no claims to any of our father's money.
If he had no will or trust, why do you think that you have "no claims?"
According to her, he granted my sister right of first refusal on all artwork and collectibles. Although I disagree with the spirit of that (what if she decides she wants everything and then simply sells it?), I'm not going to fight it.
What is "right of first refusal?"
My question is whether monetary distributions can be held on sole authority of the executor without any signed documentation to that effect. The issue is not about entitlement. Again, I make no claim to any cash for myself.
What do you mean by "held on sole authority of the executor?" And, why do you keep saying that you aren't "entitled." If state law says you aren't entitled to anything, why are you even worried about it?
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
aristotelian
Posts: 8624
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by aristotelian »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:14 pm I do understand the basics. With only 2 children, our mother gets a small lump sum first and everything remaining is divided 3 ways. That's the state law, regardless of whether our mother elects to renounce executorship. If our mother decides she wants to be the executor, there is nothing my sister can do about it.

So, whether the executor will be our mother or my sister, the primary question was whether either would have the authority to delay distributions for a decade absent the instructions within a notarized will or trust. I don't think they can.
10 years is a long time. That definitely seems worth challenging. Of course, you will need to talk to a probate attorney to do so.

Your local probate court should have a published "local rules of practice" or something to that effect. There should be a section that describes the duties of the executor. If there is a time limit it would be in there.
BillWalters
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:21 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by BillWalters »

What state?

Has an executor been appointed?
jjface
Posts: 3097
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:18 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by jjface »

Personally I think you are being taken advantage of and probably your mother too by a sibling who as an attorney (?) seems to think that you will roll over because it is her field. That may be incorrect as this is just an internet post after all. But I strongly advise you get 3rd party advice here just to be sure everything is as it should be. If not for your sake then for your mother's.
muddgirl
Posts: 176
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:33 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by muddgirl »

I didn't have to "file" a trust with anyone. I just went to a lawyer who wrote up the trust documents, signed it with a notary + witnesses, and then funded it by transferring assets to the trust's name. The trust documents are sitting on my desk.

This is why other commenters keep advising you to talk to an attorney (NOT to start combative legal proceedings but to get advice in a situation where they can clarify in real time). Maybe it is simple miscommunicaton but it's difficult to give advice without the whole picture. If there is a trust document that says "Trust assets will not be distributed until 10 years after death" then it may indeed be legal to hold trust assets until 10 years after death. But that raises the question as to what assets are in the trust and which ones aren't. Also raises the question who is the trustee?
Saving$
Posts: 2078
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:33 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Saving$ »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:05 pm
Carefreeap wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:13 pm Is your sister really an estate atty?

If your father died intestate then distributions are going to follow the laws of the state he died in. You can Google your state's name and "intestate laws" and get an idea of how they work.

It sounds like this estate is substantial. If this is the case then I would find myself a very good estate atty. There's nothing wrong with negotiating to get your share (to distribute to whomever you want).

And don't let the petty stuff get in the way. Low interest cash is important in an estate in order to pay bills et cetera until the estate is settled. Even simple well organized estates can take a year or more to settle,

Good luck!
There isn't much, but it's worth getting right. There is a lot of value in the collectibles, so their plan all along has been to go private sale for most of the more valuable items before bringing in an auction company. The real estate includes a few rentals along with some unoccupied properties that will require cash to rehab and then a few other lots awaiting new construction. IMO, the only value there is legacy ownership, which will come at a cost today that may pay off in 20 years. The rural land is maintained mostly for timber now.

Yes, my sister does estates, so she is fully aware of the applicable law. I don't know how all their conversations went, but I can envision a scenario in which he led her to believe that the trust had been filed. But regarding the will only, it's something that was never discussed with me at all. There was a throwaway comment about 10 years ago, but that was it.

My dad did very little investing in the market. He bought some legacy stock for us years ago, because his father had bought the same. He believed in U.S. savings bonds, CDs, and money market savings. Sadly, this is the sort of philosophy my sister has mostly adopted, stating that she prefers the relative safety of these vehicles.
Regardless of whether or not your sister does estates, YOU NEED A LAWYER to explain your rights. You need to understand those and communicate to your sister that you understand.

If your mother is still alive, normally the estate would go entirely to her (IANAL). Then you could prevail upon your mother to sign a will and this would get fixed.

Estates without trusts usually don't wait 10 years for distribution - what if your sister changes her mind in those 10 years?

If your sister does estates, either she knows better but hopes you don't, she is not very good at what she does, or she is trying to fleece you. In any of those possibilities you need a lawyer.
muddgirl
Posts: 176
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:33 pm

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by muddgirl »

Many states split the estates of people who died without a will between spouse and children or other family members depending on circumstances. It is not always "spouse gets all." For example in California spouse inherits all community property but only inherits 50% of separate property and children get the rest That's why an estate plan is important for everyone who expects assets to exceed debts. Also can depend on if there are any children from a previous spouse.
Luckywon
Posts: 1215
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:33 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Luckywon »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:14 pm the primary question was whether either would have the authority to delay distributions for a decade absent the instructions within a notarized will or trust.
neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 3:46 pm She knows that I won't take her to court
I think you have asked and answered your own question above. If you are not prepared to enforce your rights such as timely distribution of your inheritance then what do you expect to happen?

Apart from that, your primary question is the least intriguing part of what you have told us. Again, what state did your father live in? Was most of his estate his own separate property?
Katietsu
Posts: 4325
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Katietsu »

neverpanic wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:05 pm My dad did very little investing in the market. He bought some legacy stock for us years ago, because his father had bought the same. He believed in U.S. savings bonds, CDs, and money market savings. Sadly, this is the sort of philosophy my sister has mostly adopted, stating that she prefers the relative safety of these vehicles.
This is the part that that you seem most bothered by. But this is the part that sounds most legitimate. On the other hand, I do not understand why 2030 before distributing. Is this waiting for your children to come of age? Are you sure there is no trust?
Pacific
Posts: 1412
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:19 pm
Location: Lost in the middle of the Pacific

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Pacific »

Big Dog wrote: Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:10 pm
My concern is that the executor is quite content to let cash languish in low-interest CDs and savings bonds before starting distributions in 2030 and I am opposed to that. I am willing to concede the savings bonds, but it’s my position that most of what’s currently in CDs (at 0.05%) should be in equities or real estate.
You are incorrect on this. As Executor, her role is first and foremost to preserve the principal...


As the others have noted, if your dad really had no will and no signed trust document then state law applies. Google intestate for your state.
YOU are incorrect. You BOTH are incorrect. She cannot be the Executor (actually Executrix) when there is no will. She could be appointed as the Administrator (actually Administratrix) of the estate by the Court -- but only if the OP agreed. I don't mean any disrespect, but you seem like you have no idea what you are doing.

And, what does he mean about "filing" a trust? How does one "file" a trust?

Hire a lawyer ASAP. Heck, I'd hire Gill or Bruce Steiner in a flash (or yesterday -- whichever came first).
BarbBrooklyn
Posts: 916
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:33 am
Location: NYC

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

What worries me most about this situation is the OP's MOTHER's financial situation.

Pethaps she is independently wealthy in her own right, but I would want to make sure that the window is a. not being intimidated by her daughter and b. will have adequate funds for her care going forward.

I would take mom to see a lawyer before I did anything else. And make sure MOM makes a will.

ETA: your sister tells you that dad made a trust and that turns out not to be true. Was she one of the folks telling you that "it's all taken care of" 5 years ago?

What else is she fibbing about?
Last edited by BarbBrooklyn on Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
BarbBrooklyn | "The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."
Outer Marker
Posts: 1307
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:01 am

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by Outer Marker »

There appears to be more going on here than meets the eye, and without more specifics this thread has run its course.
BarbBrooklyn
Posts: 916
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:33 am
Location: NYC

Re: Father died intestate - sibling executor is estate attorney on power trip

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

I believe the OP to be in Maryland.

Here is what NOLO has to say about intestate:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia ... yland.html

Spouse inherits 15K plus half of all else before kids.

NeverPanic, you always advise others to seek legal advice. I am going to tell you to listen to that wise counsel.
BarbBrooklyn | "The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."
Locked