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SlyStrat
11-28-2010, 11:49 PM
My mom passed away a couple weeks ago. My older sister is the executrix of her estate. There's 4 bank accounts, some cd's, and her house. The will says the estate should be divided equally between the three of us.

Problem: My older sister gets real defensive and pissed off when me and my younger sister ask her to show us the assets and bills that have to be paid. We have no idea who might be a beneficiary, how much money there is, or where the money may have gone.
Problem: theres a checking account with my older sisters name on the checks. (my mom gave her Power of Attorney a few years ago and let her pay the bills out of this checking account). We think she's transferred about $95K into that account.
Problem: my younger sister swears there were 7 cd's, and the executrix says there are only 4.
Problem: she's taking her time about paying off the estate debts.
There's lots of other bad signs that I don't want to list.
My younger sister and I are thinking of hiring an attorney. We want full disclosure of all estate assests and debts paid. We also want the history of withdrawals and checks written to date.
Getting an attorney will probably end our relationship with my older sister and family. She's that pissed off at us already.
Advice?????

tonedaddy
11-29-2010, 04:32 AM
Instead of considering the statement, "Getting an attorney will probably end our relationship with my older sister and family", I'd think of it this way:

"Do I want to have a relationship with a sister that doesn't want to handle my mother's estate with complete transparency to her own brother and sister?"

You're the only one that can answer that.


My perspective would be this, "If my sister has nothing to hide, she shouldn't mind handling our mother's estate with complete transparency to her own brother and sister." Personally, I'd hire the attorney, do it soon. I hope things turn out well for all of you.

There's some good advice below for anyone considering who to name executor of your estate:
http://estate.findlaw.com/articles/2182.html

jbrown013
11-29-2010, 04:38 AM
I would get an attorney before it becomes and issue you cant resolve.

Dr. Tweedbucket
11-29-2010, 04:49 AM
I'd find out what rights the executor has and see if they are out of line. You would think that full disclosure wouldn't be a prob unless they are trying to hide something. I would consult an attorney (without them knowing it) and see what you can find out .... then go from there.

don carney
11-29-2010, 04:53 AM
I have been an estate and trust lawyer for many years. You should consult with an attorney who concentrates in the estate and trust area right away. Even if you decide to take no action you will feel much better about your circumstances once you have met with a competent lawyer.

ttuck
11-29-2010, 05:16 AM
I was the executor when my mom passed away , and I made sure that I was completely transparent to my sister throughout the process and actually got her involved. I don't see how problems can be avoided if the process isn't completely transparent. Go talk to an attorney, this situation just doesn't sound right.

coldfingaz
11-29-2010, 05:52 AM
I have been an estate and trust lawyer for many years. You should consult with an attorney who concentrates in the estate and trust area right away. Even if you decide to take no action you will feel much better about your circumstances once you have met with a competent lawyer.


+1 (you won't get any better advise than above)

I'd consult with an attorney ASAP. Before you proceed with any action, just be sure that you know what you're willing to give up in terms of the relationship with your older sister vs. the possibility of allowing your mom's assets to slip away. Only you can decide what to do, but I completely agree that the process should be transparent to you & your other sister.

Very truly sorry to hear you are going through this on top of your recent loss, but this sort of unfortunate circumstance is all too common with estates.

Jetrow
11-29-2010, 06:27 AM
My condolences on the passing of your mother.

Having been scooped for my share of inheritance by an older sister, I can say from first hand experience that you are taking too long worrying about your relationship with your sister. One of two things has happened. She's screwing you, or she has already screwed you and is trying to delay the inevitable when you find out she's spend or stolen it all.

It only takes a few months to sort out a complex estate so a simple one with a will and defined assets should be clearly defined and moving along a couple weeks after the funeral.

Don't hesitate to get an attorney. The longer you wait the worse it's going to be. If she is incompetent and she may well be after the loss of your mother, it hits everyone in an different way, she needs to be removed so the estate can be settled and for her own mental health as it can really be a difficult burden she may not be equipped to deal with.

You need a lawyer that is specific to the area of wills and estates.

Time is of the essence!

Out of a family of five kids, we only communicate through lawyers. Collectively we've spent over $40,000 on court and lawyers, both my sister and her husband are behind bars.

I waited when I should have swooped in like a buzzard to make sure everything was on the up and up. Let my misfortune be a lesson to you.

StompBoxBlues
11-29-2010, 06:54 AM
Word of warning. You have to SHOP AROUND for an attorney if you go that route. Some of them will want a percentage, and cannot explain in clear terms WHAT they actually will do for that much money...
I had one tell me simply "well...if you don't know that you must spend money to protect your inheritance..." after I offered to pay a consultation fee even for him to run down the work he would be doing for such a fee.

He declined. Be careful.

I made a decision (and mine was MUCH easier even...) to only use attorneys that billed for time. It was much less expensive. I also would get ahold of a book or two about it and read up. I don't know where your mother lived, but even though it is state specific I had one called "When someone dies in florida" that had a lot of tips that I think are also valid (or may be) in other states.

You need help here. Look at it this way, as others mentioned about ruining the relationship with your sister, you could EASILY make the claim that EVEN if you don't get a lawyer, you may always feel she messed you over..and that would fester and make it impossible to have a relationship with her. IF she's on the up and up, she should have no problems with openness. As executor, I believe also she legally can collect a slight fee for the extra work, and expenses in executing it, but she may be being honest but not welcoming all the extra complaints she think might be coming (it can get ugly) but you must be able to check, and I think they have a duty to prove expenses, and where the money went, how much it was, etc. that really is the JOB of being executor.

blueserv
11-29-2010, 06:58 AM
I don't know what the proper length of time is after someone passes to start discussing the estate - Everyone grieves differently. But your sister's anger & defensiveness just don't sound right; it really sounds like she's hiding something. And if she won't communicate, I don't see that she's leaving you any other choice than to get legal representation. 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

crosse79
11-29-2010, 07:00 AM
My sincere condolences - some good advice right in all the above posts.

LHanson
11-29-2010, 07:07 AM
If older sister has been taking care of Mom (paying bills is evidence of that), she might feel a little proprietary about Mom's finances. She needs to understand that the finances aren't Mom's any more, but the estate's, and the rules have changed.

gitarzilla
11-29-2010, 07:14 AM
This should be a time when you and your siblings should be working together to make sure your mom's estate is settled satisfactorily and what remains is divided fairly according to your mom's wishes. You should insist on complete transparency. Remember, being executor or executrix means that his or her purpose is to EXECUTE your mom's will. It doesn't mean that your sister has the power to distribute your mom's assets as your sister sees fit.

Jon C
11-29-2010, 07:25 AM
all the comments above have merit ... I second the one about looking for counsel who will bill on time, not a % value of the estate.

andrekp
11-29-2010, 07:35 AM
I have been an estate and trust lawyer for many years. You should consult with an attorney who concentrates in the estate and trust area right away. Even if you decide to take no action you will feel much better about your circumstances once you have met with a competent lawyer.

+1

Such times often seem to bring things to the surface that we'd rather not know about or siblings. Talk to an attorney.

In the meantime, you should be able to find your State's probate statutes online. You might be able to arm yourself with a little bit more knowledge of what an executor's duties are, and what your rights may be.

Sorry about your loss.

KazJY
11-29-2010, 07:49 AM
I was executor of my Dad's estate. We had a problem in that there wasn't enough money to take care of things, so I was the one asking everyone for money constantly. (that goes over well too!)

There SHOULD be an attorney for this - We had one from the get go. He asked for a copy of my checkbook, and everything - he had copies of everything in case someone had a question and didn't like my answer. We all got along fine, but everything should be in the open between everyone at this point - I didn't keep anything secret, and neither should your family. THAT should be the argument for your sister if she thinks you don't trust her. Everything has to be out in the open.

I am very sorry for your loss. That is the worst part of it - almost forgetting about the deceased because everyone is busy trying to stitch things up. After my Dad died, I told my Mom "have Kris take care of your stuff, because I can't do this twice!" She understood. :-)

EricPeterson
11-29-2010, 08:07 AM
Sorry for the passing of your mother.

I second the calls for getting an attorney.

StompBoxBlues
11-29-2010, 08:19 AM
Because I think it is SO important, I'm just going to repeat,
be WARY and careful when choosing an attorney. Don't let him talk you into a percentage of the estate, and ask him up front what he will be able to do for you and make sure he tells you so you understand.

Also ask him up front for a ballpark estimate about how much time he sees (at this point) it taking, how complex he sees it as. As hard as it can be, talk to a few at least (and again, none with percentage of the estate as a condition) or ask if anyone can recommend one in your area.

What you don't need now, is to add a lawyer that is going to also be looking for a piece of the pie. There are good ones, but after my having run into a few after my mothers death...be really careful. You really have to do research yourself. I had a lawyer that tried to get paid for things I could easily do (title change!) etc. and you just have to be on guard.

"get a lawyer" sounds as if they are interchangeable, but in real life, there are ones that will really put the screws to you, there are good ones, and all points in between. The thing is, they have an advantage over you, because it is their area of expertise, so you have to do some independant research, and that is one reason I REALLY recommend...if there is "estates for dummies" or any kind of good guide book for learning what you have the right to and not. You then can USE a lawyer, but you retain control.

jtm622
11-29-2010, 08:24 AM
I was executor for my mother's estate... I figured that I could deal with my blood relatives fairly easily, but I also knew that some big-mouthed IN-LAWS could easily become a problem... So - I hired an attorney to handle everything (at a flat rate), which was just about my only offical act as executor. IMO, Hiring a third party (attorney) to handle things will likely avoid any controversy and suspicion that the executor is playing fast and loose with the estate's assets...

Jon C
11-29-2010, 08:27 AM
What you don't need now, is to add a lawyer that is going to also be looking for a piece of the pie. There are good ones, but after my having run into a few after my mothers death...be really careful. You really have to do research yourself. I had a lawyer that tried to get paid for things I could easily do (title change!) etc. and you just have to be on guard.

"get a lawyer" sounds as if they are interchangeable, but in real life, there are ones that will really put the screws to you, there are good ones, and all points in between. The thing is, they have an advantage over you, because it is their area of expertise, so you have to do some independant research, and that is one reason I REALLY recommend...if there is "estates for dummies" or any kind of good guide book for learning what you have the right to and not. You then can USE a lawyer, but you retain control.

in fairness, the last sentence of your first para. above is a bit of a cheap shot... sure, you can do things like title changes yourself, but many people who are dealing with grief, etc., may choose not to do that (I am/was busy enough dealing with things that I may or may not have chosen to do that myself, if I had to in my case) ... so it is hardly the mark of an attorney dealing in bad faith to offer to do that ... it's part of the service offered, and as you note, the client may choose whether or not to do it.

As you said, get educated, retain control, but IMO handling an estate with any complications at all (and here we have them already) without an attorney and an accountant to advise you is asking for trouble.

whiteop
11-29-2010, 08:38 AM
if she's defensive and your gut instinct tells you that she's using the funds for her own benefit you're probably right. I was the executor of my mom's estate several years ago and her bank account statements were always open for inspection by my other siblings, ergo we didn't have any problems. People that act unreasonabley defensive are almost always being deceptive and have something they're hiding. I say that from the perspective of having interviewed and interrogating thousands of people in my time with about 20 years experience but anyone's mom could tell you the same...;)

StompBoxBlues
11-29-2010, 08:42 AM
in fairness, the last sentence of your first para. above is a bit of a cheap shot... sure, you can do things like title changes yourself, but many people who are dealing with grief, etc., may choose not to do that (I am/was busy enough dealing with things that I may or may not have chosen to do that myself, if I had to in my case) ... so it is hardly the mark of an attorney dealing in bad faith to offer to do that ... it's part of the service offered, and as you note, the client may choose whether or not to do it.

As you said, get educated, retain control, but IMO handling an estate with any complications at all (and here we have them already) without an attorney and an accountant to advise you is asking for trouble.

In my instance it really wasn't a cheap shot. was in grief, I had an attorney that didn't even do the things I asked (and that we agreed on) in a timely manner, and on top of it, got pissed at me because I went through a much less expensive title company than let him do it (at a much higher cost to me, and with no benefits). He never told me I could do it myself, luckily I had a friend that did.

I'm not tarring all lawyers with one brush, but sometimes you DO have to know or ask "is this something I can do?". The title company was recommended by my realtor, and was no extra work, even though I was in greif AND had shingles at the time. He also was no help at resolving her auto, which I really needed help with.

I had a bad experience (and also trying to find a new lawyer) and I am thinking of the OP here. The fact is, as I said, there are good and bad ones, and unfortunately, if you are picking one "cold" out of a phonebook, you HAVE to have some knowledge to even be able to protect yourself.
There are enough of them that can end up costing a lot (neeslessly) if you don't know the rules. I agree..one definitely oughty to have one, (and accountant is also smart!) but you cannot just blindly trust that they are looking out for you the whole way.

TheJudge
11-29-2010, 08:46 AM
Another vote for seeking the advice of competent counsel.

scottl
11-29-2010, 08:50 AM
I am a professional in the financial business for almost 20 years. The first thing I noticed in your post was that your sister has power of attorney and had been assisting mom for years. Am I correct to assume that she was integral in your mother's care in recent years? The fact that you and your sister have no idea what assets are there is indication that possibily your sister feels that you guys are after inheritance. Now I am not saying you did not love mom but in my experience this is a common scenario. One sibling cares for the parent and the others are far removed. Upon death the others descend looking for what is theirs.

I apologize if this post upsets you, I am not saying this is the case here, just possibly being devils advocate for the other side based on my extensive experience in these matters.

Also, sorry for your loss..... Heed the advice above and consult with a legal expert about whether you can force the disclosure of all financial statements for the last several years.

marko
11-29-2010, 09:20 AM
My mom passed away a couple weeks ago. My older sister is the executrix of her estate. There's 4 bank accounts, some cd's, and her house. The will says the estate should be divided equally between the three of us.

Problem: My older sister gets real defensive and pissed off when me and my younger sister ask her to show us the assets and bills that have to be paid. We have no idea who might be a beneficiary, how much money there is, or where the money may have gone.
Problem: theres a checking account with my older sisters name on the checks. (my mom gave her Power of Attorney a few years ago and let her pay the bills out of this checking account). We think she's transferred about $95K into that account.
Problem: my younger sister swears there were 7 cd's, and the executrix says there are only 4.
Problem: she's taking her time about paying off the estate debts.
There's lots of other bad signs that I don't want to list.
My younger sister and I are thinking of hiring an attorney. We want full disclosure of all estate assests and debts paid. We also want the history of withdrawals and checks written to date.
Getting an attorney will probably end our relationship with my older sister and family. She's that pissed off at us already.
Advice?????

unfortunately some people get greedy, crazy and take advantage of situations just like this! Wills, estates, power of attorney, ect seem to always bring either the best or worse out of the family.

IF BIG SIS IS NOT BEING OPEN AND AT LEAST "OFFERING" DISCLOSURE TO YOU AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS, THERE IS SOMETHING SHE WANTS TOO HIDE IMO.

Ask big sis to meet with you and other sister and bring all the records to the meeting by a certain date. Tell her you want to be added as a signer on all transactions & payments in the future too. Also ask to be given a second copy of all your mom's bank stmts, future bills, tax and investments stmts going forward. Try to get online access to moms accounts too. Also get a copy of the power of attorny order and other legal docs involving your mom and sis. YOUR attorney will need a copy.

Seek legal advise, if you are still without peace of mind and big sis will not cooperate. Good luck...i am betting your older sister got greedy given this power with your moms estate and money...very common thing to happen....

i watched as my mother-in-law's big brother stole everything from their mom's estate and never would provide any records to the family!

coldfingaz
11-29-2010, 09:25 AM
Now I am not saying you did not love mom but in my experience this is a common scenario. One sibling cares for the parent and the others are far removed. Upon death the others descend looking for what is theirs.


Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but caring for somebody does not trump a will. Unfortunately (and I've seen this happen firsthand), sometimes people care for loved ones near the end expecting this to be their ticket to a full (or more substantial share of the) inheritance. But, what happens to an estate should be clarified via legal amendments to a will.

michael.e
11-29-2010, 09:26 AM
Much good advice here. Yes, get an atty. and yes, be careful in picking a good one. If an unscrupulous one sees that you are in a bit of a jam, they may take advantage. You must do the right thing and if you sister can or can't handle it, well, that is her journey.

scottl
11-29-2010, 09:27 AM
Once mom passed, the power of attorney is nullified. All assets are now controlled by the named executrix. It is not realistic, acceptable, or appropriate to try and add an executor. This I believe would require a court order. So, for now, sis signs. All you can do is try and get some transparancy. My concern is possible confusion regarding the terminology. Power of attorney is different than mom putting sis on a bank account. In the former, the bank account is part of the estate. In the second scenario, mom gifted the assets to big sis and it is all hers. No ifs and or buts. You would be relying on big sis to do the right thing and split the account. She is under no legal obligation to share what is there or even divulge the contents. Now, maybe a legal suit against her for tricking an old lady into giving her the money would fly....

Good luck with all.....

unfortunately some people get greedy, crazy and take advantage of situations just like this! Wills, estates, power of attorney, ect seem to always bring either the best or worse out of the family.

IF BIG SIS IS NOT BEING OPEN AND AT LEAST "OFFERING" DISCLOSURE TO YOU AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS, THERE IS SOMETHING SHE WANTS TOO HIDE IMO.

Ask big sis to meet with you and other sister and bring all the records to the meeting by a certain date. Tell her you want to be added as a signer on all transactions & payments in the future too. Also ask to be given a second copy of all your mom's bank stmts, future bills, tax and investments stmts going forward. Try to get online access to moms accounts too. Also get a copy of the power of attorny order and other legal docs involving your mom and sis. YOUR attorney will need a copy.

Seek legal advise, if you are still without peace of mind and big sis will not cooperate. Good luck...i am betting your older sister got greedy given this power with your moms estate and money...very common thing to happen....

i watched as my mother-in-law's big brother stole everything from their mom's estate and never would provide any records to the family!

scottl
11-29-2010, 09:28 AM
Agreed. I was not saying the entitles big sis to trump the will. Just that it oftens breeds bad blood.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but caring for somebody does not trump a will. Unfortunately (and I've seen this happen firsthand), sometimes people care for loved ones near the end expecting this to be their ticket to a full (or more substantial share of the) inheritance. But, what happens to an estate should be clarified via legal amendments to a will.

coldfingaz
11-29-2010, 09:28 AM
Agreed. I was not saying the entitles big sis to trump the will. Just that it oftens breeds bad blood.


10-4 & I completely agree.

The Golden Boy
11-29-2010, 09:35 AM
I am a professional in the financial business for almost 20 years. The first thing I noticed in your post was that your sister has power of attorney and had been assisting mom for years. Am I correct to assume that she was integral in your mother's care in recent years? The fact that you and your sister have no idea what assets are there is indication that possibily your sister feels that you guys are after inheritance. Now I am not saying you did not love mom but in my experience this is a common scenario. One sibling cares for the parent and the others are far removed. Upon death the others descend looking for what is theirs.

I apologize if this post upsets you, I am not saying this is the case here, just possibly being devils advocate for the other side based on my extensive experience in these matters.

Also, sorry for your loss..... Heed the advice above and consult with a legal expert about whether you can force the disclosure of all financial statements for the last several years.
Something else to keep in mind.

Again, I'm not even close to inferring that anyone is only involved to get inheritance money- but it's ghoulish the way "relatives" show up after a funeral.

My best wishes to you and your family, and I hope it gets sorted out with the least bit of animosity possible.

marko
11-29-2010, 09:35 AM
I am a professional in the financial business for almost 20 years. The first thing I noticed in your post was that your sister has power of attorney and had been assisting mom for years. Am I correct to assume that she was integral in your mother's care in recent years? The fact that you and your sister have no idea what assets are there is indication that possibily your sister feels that you guys are after inheritance. Now I am not saying you did not love mom but in my experience this is a common scenario. One sibling cares for the parent and the others are far removed. Upon death the others descend looking for what is theirs.

I apologize if this post upsets you, I am not saying this is the case here, just possibly being devils advocate for the other side based on my extensive experience in these matters.

Also, sorry for your loss..... Heed the advice above and consult with a legal expert about whether you can force the disclosure of all financial statements for the last several years.

i think he is basically asking for an accounting of the estate which is a reasonable thing to do and if there will be a settlement to the legal heirs! yes its common for one sibling to handle things for their parent and unfortunately abuse that trust! Big sis should get inline like the other heirs and do something about helping her brother have some peace of mind!!! We dont really know anything else do we...?

SlyStrat
11-29-2010, 09:45 AM
My YOUNGER sister lived with my mom the last five years, and took care of her. This wasn't an easy job.
If my mom would've been in a nursing home, there wouldn't be ANY money left for my older sister to steal.

I wasn't named executor because I was going through a nasty divorce at the time.

scottl
11-29-2010, 10:04 AM
That clarifies things.... Once again sorry for the loss. I was not posting to cast any negative light on you and sis, just outlining a common scenario.

My main concern is the bank account that big sis had checks on. You implied the account was put into big sis's name?? If the "ownership" was in your big sis's name, there could be issues.

Also, it is not unusual to get the accounting when settling the estate. Not along the way. If your sister agrees to provide all accounting in the future when settling, this is reasonable and customary. Just sayin'

Good luck!

My YOUNGER sister lived with my mom the last five years, and took care of her. This wasn't an easy job.
If my mom would've been in a nursing home, there wouldn't be ANY money left for my older sister to steal.

I wasn't named executor because I was going through a nasty divorce at the time.

tonio19
11-29-2010, 11:09 AM
Lots of directions here concerning where to turn at the 15 and 20 mile marks, and who should be doing this and that, but I still have not heard word one about "THE WILL"...?
Where are you on this small inconvienient step...
Have you seen the will____? (Yes/No)
If Not, Why Not ?
Now it seems to me that shortly after the funeral there should have been a reading of the will for all parties involved.
All assets, bank holdings, debts, etc should be "laid on the table" at this point.
Basically you need to know/find out what the size of the estate is (all assets minus all debts=estate value)...and what the will says is yours.
Of course some people give/leave certain items, properties etc. to certain people, and sometimes you are given a share or percentage of the total estates assets (Value, or worth).
If you have been left say 33-1/3 %, (say split evenly with 2 other siblings) then you really need to know what the estates total value is, to know what 1/3 actually is.
And this is where taking someones word is simply "NOT GOING TO CUT IT".
Nothing personel here, this goes back thousands of years, the stories about how some people are cheated out of their inheritence in a time of grieving.
Don't let it happen to you.
If someone put you in their will, then you are "NOT" being evil, greedy, or any other negative word, to simply claim what was freely given to you is your right.

Jon Silberman
11-29-2010, 11:19 AM
FWIW, my parents have made it clear to my brother and me that whatever they want us to have unequally will be given "with a warm hand" and afterwards, it's exactly 50-50. I think this is a great way to do it to preserve family harmony and will do the same thing with my children.

SlyStrat
11-29-2010, 12:55 PM
The will states all three of us get an equal share of the estate.

VCuomo
11-29-2010, 01:03 PM
All I can say is that I have been named as my Mom's executor, and when the time comes for me to act in that capacity I would have no problem in showing either of my siblings any documentation, financial or otherwise, that they ask to see. I would be very suspicious of an executor who would act otherwise.

TonyD
11-29-2010, 01:09 PM
My sister made a great move when named executor of our folks estate. She handed it off to my mother's accountant.

Could still be done by your sister.

Catoogie
11-29-2010, 01:12 PM
Man, I'm really sorry to hear the trouble you are having with your sister. Losing a parent is bad enough but to have to duke it out with your sibling only makes it worse. I was REALLY lucky in that my sister and I were on the same page about EVERYTHING after my Mom passed. Good luck.

brlfq
11-29-2010, 01:28 PM
My mom passed away a couple weeks ago. My older sister is the executrix of her estate. There's 4 bank accounts, some cd's, and her house. The will says the estate should be divided equally between the three of us.

Problem: My older sister gets real defensive and pissed off when me and my younger sister ask her to show us the assets and bills that have to be paid. We have no idea who might be a beneficiary, how much money there is, or where the money may have gone.
Problem: theres a checking account with my older sisters name on the checks. (my mom gave her Power of Attorney a few years ago and let her pay the bills out of this checking account). We think she's transferred about $95K into that account.
Problem: my younger sister swears there were 7 cd's, and the executrix says there are only 4.
Problem: she's taking her time about paying off the estate debts.
There's lots of other bad signs that I don't want to list.
My younger sister and I are thinking of hiring an attorney. We want full disclosure of all estate assests and debts paid. We also want the history of withdrawals and checks written to date.
Getting an attorney will probably end our relationship with my older sister and family. She's that pissed off at us already.
Advice?????

TWO WEEKS! Jeez! I'd still be in a fog about my Mom's death in TWO WEEKS! The legal stuff takes longer than that! You'll be lucky to get the legal side tended to in two MONTHS. As I understand it, if your sis has power of attorney, she can act as she deems necessary to take care of your Mom's final and financial business. The final disposition of her property will be up to a judge anyway.



My wife was the executor of her Dad's estate. The family feuds that were started over his stuff was simply not worth the hassle. My wife's brothers actually thought they had the right to go into my wife's dad's house and divide up his personal stuff. They wanted to sell his cattle and divide up the money. (He was married and his wife was still alive when he died!)I wish she'd burned the money and the stuff. Our family is more important than the stuff they leave behind when they die. It took years to rebuild those relationships.

Her mom is in poor health and could go at any time. My wife will be the executor for her mom, also. Her Mom has a will and has already arranged for the "gifts" she will give when she dies. When my wife's brothers find out that they aren't getting much, they're going to have a fit. My wife's brothers stop by to visit her about once every 6 to 8 weeks for 20 minutes. My wife sees her 3 or 4 times a week and takes her to every md appointment, every grocery trip, every ride in the country. She spends time with her mom regularly and is the ONE who makes sure she's OK at the end of every day. Each of her brothers drive within 1/4 mile of their Mom's house every day!

When someone dies, our job is to grieve, not to fight over stuff!

EricPeterson
11-29-2010, 01:30 PM
TWO WEEKS! Jeez! I'd still be in a fog about my Mom's death in TWO WEEKS! The legal stuff takes longer than that! You'll be lucky to get the legal side tended to in two MONTHS. As I understand it, if your sis has power of attorney, she can act as she deems necessary to take care of your Mom's final and financial business. The final disposition of her property will be up to a judge anyway.


Power of attorney does not survive death or incapacitation. As the exaecutor she does need to settle up accounts and take care of any outstanding debts or obligations of your mothers estate.

Scott M.
11-29-2010, 01:33 PM
I have been an estate and trust lawyer for many years. You should consult with an attorney who concentrates in the estate and trust area right away. Even if you decide to take no action you will feel much better about your circumstances once you have met with a competent lawyer.

+1 - I've been doing it for years also. Advice is right on.

VanR
11-29-2010, 01:36 PM
Sorry about your loss.
Sorry to say but from the sound of it you will probably end up like I did when my father died.
You won't get a penny and you won't have a relationship with your sister either. Money does things to perfectly normal people.

jrjones
11-29-2010, 01:44 PM
Be ready for it to get messy...when my great grandpa retired, he was loaded, in his later years he got alzheimers and was pretty out of it...he had a will saying everything went to his kids, nothing to his wife (who he had no kids with) but she torched it before he died...by then, she had spent all his money and sold some of his land...the kids didn't get along, so it was a fight the whole time...the upside was that all his assets were frozen so she couldn't take anymore...they ended up splitting it with her though :(

wallinbb
11-29-2010, 01:52 PM
My condolences on the passing of your mother.

Having been scooped for my share of inheritance by an older sister, I can say from first hand experience that you are taking too long worrying about your relationship with your sister. One of two things has happened. She's screwing you, or she has already screwed you and is trying to delay the inevitable when you find out she's spend or stolen it all.

It only takes a few months to sort out a complex estate so a simple one with a will and defined assets should be clearly defined and moving along a couple weeks after the funeral.

Don't hesitate to get an attorney. The longer you wait the worse it's going to be. If she is incompetent and she may well be after the loss of your mother, it hits everyone in an different way, she needs to be removed so the estate can be settled and for her own mental health as it can really be a difficult burden she may not be equipped to deal with.

You need a lawyer that is specific to the area of wills and estates.

Time is of the essence!

Out of a family of five kids, we only communicate through lawyers. Collectively we've spent over $40,000 on court and lawyers, both my sister and her husband are behind bars.

I waited when I should have swooped in like a buzzard to make sure everything was on the up and up. Let my misfortune be a lesson to you.

this!

rogwerks
11-29-2010, 01:53 PM
"where there is a will, there is a lawsuit"...

Ed Reed
11-29-2010, 04:53 PM
Talk to an attorney.

FeloniousBishop
11-29-2010, 05:53 PM
Seems like it would depend on what kind of person your big sister is, what is her relationship to you and your other sister like?

Because, if she's a good person and you get on well then two weeks is not long at all and she might be irritated by your pressuring her especially if she feels she was doing more for her Mom than you and her sister and that you just came out of the woodwork clamoring for instant funds.

If on the other hand she's not very honest or you all have had a bad relationship in the past then it would be a very different story.

DGDGBD
11-29-2010, 07:13 PM
I'm really sorry for your loss. It totally sucks that you have to worry about this, on top of losing your Mom. Your sister has certain legal obligations as executrix, but I'm not sure that sharing every detail of the estate at this early juncture is one of them. Of course, the right thing to do would be for her to be as open as possible with her siblings about what is known and what is not known. As others have advised, retain an good attorney for a consultation. I hope that it works out OK for your family. I have two siblings, and was the executor of my Dad's estate. It was complicated and it took over a year and a half to settle completely. After a couple of weeks, I was no where near ready to have a good idea of what everyone was going to get. BUT, whenever they had any questions, I was straight up with them about what I knew at the time. I was patient with them and made sure they felt assured of the process. They were very involved in the divvying up of his personal belongings. Everyone got a copy of the Will.

Jon C
11-29-2010, 08:19 PM
All I can say is that I have been named as my Mom's executor, and when the time comes for me to act in that capacity I would have no problem in showing either of my siblings any documentation, financial or otherwise, that they ask to see. I would be very suspicious of an executor who would act otherwise.


this is the law in most states, so not sure you'd really have any choice in the matter there ... beneficiaries are generally due an accounting IIRC.

this one sounds messed up all around so far (and it can take months, btw, not just a few weeks, to sort our estate liabilities, bills, etc.)...

hellbender
11-29-2010, 08:59 PM
You go to an attorney and you are just setting another seat at the table.

Jon C
11-29-2010, 09:00 PM
You go to an attorney and you are just setting another seat at the table.

I am not at all sure what you mean by that, but if it were me I'd want someone sitting at the table who (a) knows the law and (b) represents MY interests (or at least, the estate's (as opposed to the sister's)).

circusinthesky
11-29-2010, 09:25 PM
Seen this before.

A. Hire a lawyer and establish complete transparency of the situation. Your older sister will get over it.
B. Harbor anger, resentment, and mistrust towards your older Sis for years to come.
C. Formally give her the money, and be done with it.

A is the best choice. B is unfortunately the most common choice. People fail to deal with a situation, and the resulting anger, mistrust, resentment, etc does a lot of damage to the family.

HoboMan
11-29-2010, 09:30 PM
I will be going thru something similar soon. I will be the executor of my Mom's will and one of my Siblings is not happy about it.
Alll others requested me to be executor.

wholetone
11-29-2010, 10:00 PM
I have been an estate and trust lawyer for many years. You should consult with an attorney who concentrates in the estate and trust area right away. Even if you decide to take no action you will feel much better about your circumstances once you have met with a competent lawyer.

This is good advice. Dude, I feel for you. My mom died last year - on New Year's Eve - and it was easy for me because I was the only child and executor, but a good attorney will tell you what your options are under the state in which your Mom died.

If the relationship with your oldest sister is going to be toasted by this, chances are it wasn't that great to begin with, and this will simply hurry along the process of her breaking ties with the rest of you - which is *her* choice and loss - not yours.

The key in these estate matters is to be patient. My Mom died in Iowa, she left a will but NOT a trust (I've already set up a will and trust for my two children, and I've made them co-executors, but I have a sole Executor and two backups if they are still under 18 when I die)... a trust makes the initial process of getting power of attorney, paying bills, etc. a lot easier. It took about a month for my estate attorney to get the death certificates, and then its usually 6-8 months - depending on how complicated the estate is and your individual state laws - for the estate to work its way through the legal process to be closed. Mine was relatively easy; Mom died December 31 last year and the estate was closed on September 27th (in Iowa). It would have closed more quickly, but with the economy, the Iowa Dept. of Revenue was short-staffed, and while she owed no back taxes the court required a sign off that she owed no back income taxes before the estate could be formally closed.

Don't let your older sister bully you through this process - and - if you don't have a living will and health care directive, get one done FAST! Setting up a will and living trust will make life much easier for your heirs and save money up front (and time) in getting your estate passed on.

And no, I"m not an attorney, but having both of my parents die within six months of each other and my mother spending her last two months in hospice, these are really important things that need taken care of. Good luck to you, and my condolences on your mother's passing.

wholetone
11-29-2010, 10:03 PM
Also - at least under Iowa state law, the amount the estate attorney can charge for *all* services is a percentage of the estimated value of the estate. My attorney did not ask for the fee up front, but I paid it to her once I had control of Mom's bank accounts. The attorney has to put it into an escrow account until the estate closes, but I received super treatment and full knowledge of the goings on throughout the process from her. In fact, if you happen to be in Iowa I'd be happy to give you her phone number. She was really good.

EDIT: I see you are in Ohio so you probably don't need an Iowa attorney :) Again, good luck, talk to an estate attorney, paying them for an hour or so beyond the initial consult may end up saving you and your other siblings a lot of agony throughout the estate process.

don carney
11-30-2010, 06:43 AM
In my experience as a lawyer for many years, rarely will an experienced trust and estate attorney charge on the basis of a percentage. If you consult with an attorney who suggests this, you should think twice whether you have the right person. There are occasional situations where a percentage makes sense but they are extremely rare.

andrekp
11-30-2010, 08:35 AM
Seen this before.

A. Hire a lawyer and establish complete transparency of the situation. Your older sister will get over it.
B. Harbor anger, resentment, and mistrust towards your older Sis for years to come.
C. Formally give her the money, and be done with it.

A is the best choice. B is unfortunately the most common choice. People fail to deal with a situation, and the resulting anger, mistrust, resentment, etc does a lot of damage to the family.

This really is what it comes down to.

Look, I understand people's general aversion to hiring an attorney for what might seem to them to be either a simple or non-legal situation. But, unfortunately, lawyers spend a lot of time trying to clean up messes AFTER the fact for this very reason. Lots of lawyer-client conversations begin with "OK, here's what I did...I didn't think it would hurt anything..." Seriously. Some areas of law are based entirely on that rubric.

But in a situation like this, I can tell you FIRSTHAND from two situations in MY family: you want an attorney. If for no other reason than to have an objective third party making sure you and your sister don't ruin your personal relationship forever.

I'm telling you, without my lawyer hat on, there are two kinds of families in your situation: Those that manage to do everything without ruffling any interpersonal feathers, and those that let even small things create rifts that you might never fix.

If you value your relationship with your sister, then you need to risk upsetting her in the short-term by bringing in outside help, because it is quite possible that if you don't, you will both be upset long-term.

But don't do it based on what you read here. Think about it for yourself. Think about what's going on. Think about whether there might be future ramifications. Think about what you might be willing to let go for the sake of a future with your sister. Think about whether you really care about the property in the estate or not. Then hire a lawyer if it makes sense then.

coldfingaz
11-30-2010, 09:18 AM
Look, I understand people's general aversion to hiring an attorney for what might seem to them to be either a simple or non-legal situation. But, unfortunately, lawyers spend a lot of time trying to clean up messes AFTER the fact for this very reason. Lots of lawyer-client conversations begin with "OK, here's what I did...I didn't think it would hurt anything..." Seriously. Some areas of law are based entirely on that rubric.


This is frighteningly true.

Hopefully, this is nowhere near your situation, OP, but... I cannot even begin to explain the depths of the criminal activities involved when my wife's grandmother passed away a few years ago. These discrepancies & instances of theft were uncovered by an attorney & forensic accountant investigations which went on for over 2 years after the fact. The discovery could have kept going on indefinitely had my father-in-law not finally pulled the plug mostly out of sheer exhaustion & disgust.

It was truly amazing to find out how many savings bonds another family member had illegal cashed (some of them were for his own kids!) either just prior to or after her death, funds from various accounts were diverted & even a new will (forged at the 11th hour) came into play.

Clearly, not everyone has such horrible deeds in mind, but this sort of thing happens with astonishing frequency even sometimes with folks you would never expect it from.

hellbender
11-30-2010, 09:36 AM
I am not at all sure what you mean by that, but if it were me I'd want someone sitting at the table who (a) knows the law and (b) represents MY interests (or at least, the estate's (as opposed to the sister's)).

Go ahead then, by all means

SlyStrat
12-01-2010, 05:26 PM
Seen this before.

A. Hire a lawyer and establish complete transparency of the situation. Your older sister will get over it.
B. Harbor anger, resentment, and mistrust towards your older Sis for years to come.
C. Formally give her the money, and be done with it.

A is the best choice. B is unfortunately the most common choice. People fail to deal with a situation, and the resulting anger, mistrust, resentment, etc does a lot of damage to the family.


Thank you to ALL, for your replies and very good advice.
The above reply really sums up why we hired an attorney. I DON'T want to harbor resentment for the rest of my life.
From what we told him, he thinks she's been plotting against us for a while.

EricPeterson
12-01-2010, 05:29 PM
Thank you to ALL, for your replies and very good advice.
The above reply really sums up why we hired an attorney. I DON'T want to harbor resentment for the rest of my life.
From what we told him, he thinks she's been plotting against us for a while.

I am glad you now have representation. Good luck, I hope that you get a good outcome, or at least as good as it can be at this point.

Dumo
12-01-2010, 05:32 PM
Man, even death is a racket. Good luck to you.

SlyStrat
12-01-2010, 05:32 PM
He's supposed to be a very good Probate lawyer. And his brother is a judge in our county Probate Court.

coldfingaz
12-01-2010, 07:40 PM
He's supposed to be a very good Probate lawyer. And his brother is a judge in our county Probate Court.


Glad to hear you moved on this. Just keep your head up, you're doing the right thing & I hope it all gets resolved quickly & without much of a mess.

parkersharon32
01-27-2011, 01:44 AM
Get in touch with a good business attorney. They will ascertain the entire case and will ask for the will to be shared. With legal responsibilities and obligations at hand, the entire problem could be dealt with in a better way. I recommend Denver business (http://www.minorbrown.com/) attorneys at Minor and Brown. They have a wide and successful courtroom experience. Learn more about them through their website.

jrjones
01-27-2011, 09:49 AM
He's supposed to be a very good Probate lawyer. And his brother is a judge in our county Probate Court.

Good job. :aok

Blindspot
05-06-2013, 08:05 AM
I would get an attorney before it becomes and issue you cant resolve.

/thread

Boris Bubbanov
05-06-2013, 08:49 AM
Getting an attorney will probably end our relationship with my older sister and family.

Not if you choose the right lawyer.

Know about the Rambo lawyers? Just avoid those. A good professional knows his job is to get the disparate members understanding one another, knows he needs to break down the misconceptions and misunderstandings. No lawyer assumes he'll handle a matter like this with never a phone call from another lawyer, and neither lawyer can expect to retire on money stolen from a single client, so they'll tend to reach full disclosure of all the debts and assets; might actually speed up the disposition of the estate.

I've seen the lawyers fix the family. No guarantees, but it does happen fairly often. Think of them as "money doctors". Some doctors actually get their patients well and back on their feet and at reasonable cost. :^)

GuitarGirlsRule
05-06-2013, 08:55 AM
If brothers and sisters can't sit down and have a normal open coversation, the the concept of 'family' has gone right out the window. Now we are talking a Jerry Springer situation, everyone out for themselves. If you get an attorney involved. Yes, that's the end of the relationship, but if the sister won't come clean, is deceptive and hiding money, she ended the relationship before you ever did, now it's just a money grab, with the attorneys many times locking up accounts, putting it all in probate, delaying for years, having a court get involved, years later, and running up fees and being the big winners.

A good lawyer will stop this nonsense before it gets out of hand, but those lawyers are few and far between and I haven't met one. Most want to string it all out and run up the fees.

EricPeterson
05-06-2013, 08:59 AM
/thread

lol, what a great necro-bump.

Jube2550
05-06-2013, 09:01 AM
everyone out for themselves..when it comes to $$$

Fixed.

Sorry for your loss OP, and now the potential estate headache. I've been interested in estate settlement proceedings and want to know what has to be done or might come up. The vultures always circle around as I have witnessed before...family included.

mudster
05-06-2013, 09:05 AM
Being an executor while greiving is extremely difficult. Give her some space.
The amount of paperwork and time-consuming contacting of various agencies, businesses, banks, etc. is immense, and that is if the deceased had ALL her ducks in a row. My sister and I just went through this in 2011-12. It is a thankless, tiring, emotionally taxing, and very difficult job in the best of circumstances.

If it were me, I'd talk to her. Tell her I trust her completely. Ask if there is anything I can do to help w/ regards to paperwork, getting things notarized, mailing envelopes, buying stamps, anything! It also costs the executor money to handle some details. There can be many tax issues involved that are bothersome to explain in detail. Cut her some slack, be supportive, and trust her. It will all come together in the end.

jtm622
05-06-2013, 09:30 AM
Is this a zombie thread, or what???

:)

pjrhd28
05-06-2013, 09:43 AM
In most states, as a beneficiary, you are entitled to notice and perhaps a copy of the will. You are also most likely entitled to an accounting.

Have you received those?

EricPeterson
05-06-2013, 09:45 AM
People, this thread is like 3 years old, I would hope he is done with probate by now.


Nice work blindspot. :rotflmao

KCWM
05-06-2013, 09:49 AM
Actually, blindspot didn't necro it. Someone else did and then deleted their post.

SlyStrat
05-06-2013, 09:51 AM
Here I am!
Update: my other sister and I finally did get some inheritance money. But it wasn't the amount we expected. We're guessing she kept half. She was VERY reluctant to show us ANYTHING. CD's disappeared. Bank accounts disappeared. We did hire an attorney. That might be why we got something. I have no relationship with her now.

StratGuy22
05-06-2013, 09:56 AM
Good to hear you got something. Sorry to hear you got screwed over.


What a fcuking bitch. Good riddance.

crambone
05-06-2013, 10:17 AM
Here I am!
Update: my other sister and I finally did get some inheritance money. But it wasn't the amount we expected. We're guessing she kept half. She was VERY reluctant to show us ANYTHING. CD's disappeared. Bank accounts disappeared. We did hire an attorney. That might be why we got something. I have no relationship with her now.

WOW...that is horrible.

Glad to hear that you got something, sorry again for your loss.

VicAjax
05-06-2013, 10:21 AM
Here I am!
Update: my other sister and I finally did get some inheritance money. But it wasn't the amount we expected. We're guessing she kept half. She was VERY reluctant to show us ANYTHING. CD's disappeared. Bank accounts disappeared. We did hire an attorney. That might be why we got something. I have no relationship with her now.

sooooo worth the zombie resurrection!


i'm guessing by your update that you never did get the transparency you asked for? did you guys ultimately decide that the cost of pursuing more wouldn't have been worth it?

Gargloic
05-06-2013, 11:00 AM
Thanks Slystrat for giving us update.

Glad you did at least get a part of you due.

Humans are strange. My only brother died 25 years ago (I was 22 at the time, he was 27). There is a not a day without me missing him so it is such sad for me to hear about fights in families...

At least, since I do not have sisters too, I won't get problems with inheritance...

Gargloic

armadillo66
05-06-2013, 11:09 AM
My dad made his living doing probate and then a 40yr career on the bench dealing with probate regularly, knowing him, he would tell you to hire an attorney who fully understands probate and also hire a CPA to look at the books if there were any balks on the part of the sibling about cooperating with disclosures.

kcprogguitar
05-06-2013, 11:39 AM
I can't emphasize this enough.

Have your attorney file a motion with the probate judge to have a complete accounting from the day your parent died. Transfers to and from the bank accounts will be examined.

If that judge finds out the executor has flim flammed around, he's gonna be pissed like you've never seen.

Never piss off a judge.

I repeat.

Never piss off a judge.

armadillo66
05-06-2013, 11:42 AM
I can't emphasize this enough.

Have your attorney file a motion with the probate judge to have a complete accounting from the day your parent died. Transfers to and from the bank accounts will be examined.

If that judge finds out the executor has flim flammed around, he's gonna be pissed like you've never seen.

Never piss off a judge.

I repeat.

Never piss off a judge.

+100 Dad made me understand that early on in his career on the bench

brettk7
05-06-2013, 12:24 PM
I hate to post negative things, but she is probably mad and defensive for a REASON. Long story short, a house was left to my family that my Aunt ended up renting out. My Mother and I never saw a single bit of the income from that, and to make a long-story short, we were going to buy her out of the house so I would have a place to live. Went to acquire about financing it and found out that she hadn't been paying the taxes for the four years she had been renting it. Upon confronting her about this and having proof she was drowning down shit creek, she signed herself out of the house and left it to my Mom. Which left us in a spot where we had to come up with thousands of dollars out of pocket, basically immediately, or else the house would of left the family and been sold for a years worth of taxes to the first lucky bidder.

It will be nasty, she may be offended, but over-all, it's in you and your families best interest to get to the bottom of things. DO IT.

Slackerprince
05-06-2013, 04:28 PM
What a tangled web we weave.



S

90wreck
05-06-2013, 04:49 PM
Sad to say, I will never have to worry about this, as my brother has squandered it all away as POA. Even gave the new car to his daughter who doesn't have a drivers license.
I don't care...It actually made me feel better, because now I don't have to deal with him ever again. Sad to say, but he was never really liked by many....ever.
To the OP, glad you got something.