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Old 04-22-2015, 06:15 PM   #21
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I agree with what several others have said.

The executor has very little discretion to deviate from what is written. So, if the will or trust does not address travel expenses, then the only solution is to advance a portion of the eventual inheritance. Probate court (if it's a will) will review disbursements so this is not something that come out of the estate, unless it's specified.

My husband is currently co-executor for his father's estate. The estate paid for the funeral, but not for family travel to the funeral (of which several family members had to travel out of state.)
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:24 PM   #22
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Olbidness, condolences on the death of your father. As his executor, you are responsible for managing the estate according to his wishes and the law. Your sister's request, while it may seem logical to her, suggests that she may object to provisions in the will later on. If you dispense funds from the estate prematurely, you may be held accountable by other beneficiaries. I recommend that you not release any funds until (1) probate has been obtained and (2) you consult with a lawyer.

When my mother died, her will left everything to me. As Harley does, I felt that some people close to her deserved a gift. So I waited until the proceedings had been completed and gave the gifts myself "on behalf of my mother". They were very much appreciated.
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:26 PM   #23
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I went through a similar situation when my mother passed away recently. My brother is the executor of our parents estate. I never even thought about asking for reimbursement of my travel expenses to the funeral. As I was getting ready to go back home my brother handed me some cash, said he decided to help our sister and nephews with their travel expenses since they were a little strapped and wanted to keep it fair. I didn't ask him but I don't believe they had even asked to get reimbursed. The amount he gave me wasn't even close to paying what it cost me but to be honest it wouldn't have bothered me if he had decided to help them only, it wasn't a huge amount of money. My mother had transferred her checking account (less than $5K) over to my brother just before she passed and he used that for the travel expenses, post funeral reception, etc. After reading some horror stories when it comes to siblings and estates I feel very fortunate that my brother and sisters are all civil and reasonable.
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:41 PM   #24
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When my grandmother died she had left a bank as trustee and executor (they had a trust), and the bank gave me and my sister money to reimburse us for travel (from the trust). Perhaps that does suggest that any trust be written to allow the trustee to reimburse if need be.
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:47 PM   #25
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.....On the other hand, I'm relatively sure they'll blow the money in some way I wouldn't approve of, but it still seems the only fair way to go.
Just a thought. Since you have the discretion you might do the gift over a number of years so they don't blow it all at once or in a way that is something that you would approve of.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:04 PM   #26
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I am currently in this role. It is going OK due to incredible siblings. This is not always the case.

However, after seeing things on the other side of the family. DW and I have decided to hire professionals to be an executor if we should pass.

If one of us goes naturally, the other is the executor (a no-brainer, since most is joint accounts anyway). If both of us go (say an auto accident where we both perish -- not unusual!), we have stipulated a professional agency to do this.

It could cost up to 5% of our estate. WE DON'T CARE. It will save our siblings enormous pain.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:05 PM   #27
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Just a thought. Since you have the discretion you might do the gift over a number of years so they don't blow it all at once or in a way that is something that you would approve of.
No, it's not going to be that big, like $25K each. Once it's theirs, it's up to them what they do. Hopefully I'll never even know. Just basing my previous comment on past behavior. Some people just don't make good decisions. Of course, that may be the pot calling the kettle black.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:32 PM   #28
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I guess what troubles me most is she uses the word "fair" when she says why the estate should pay the expense. Fair to whom I question. I don't think my stepbrother would agree with her assessment. To strengthen her case she adds that "I don't like him and he doesn't like me", as if to say ,because I don't like him he is not as worthy as me. She also seems to think it's "fair" that I pay a third also but uses the term "estate" like it's this thing and not someone else's pocket. I don't care about the money but the attitude of entitlement really annoys me.

She may truly be that short of money but that's not how she portrays it, simply a matter of "fairness". Sis and BIL live in a huge house. drive expensive foreign cars, so from outward appearances they are doing well.
It could be as they say where I live, "big hat, no cattle", but I don't think so.

As a side note I sure like being able to post on this forum. Very cathartic.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:02 PM   #29
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Oldbidness , Sorry for your loss !
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:15 PM   #30
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I've been in the executor role a few years ago. The situation you describe has no bearing on the estate. If you pay for your sister's travel expenses, you'll open yourself up to a potential lawsuit and then you'll need to explain it in your final estate accounting. Then you will need to get the money back and may need to file a court claim of repayment against your sister. Then if she decides not to pay, then start the collections process too. Trust me, I've been in this situation where I had to file claim in court to collect an estate over payment to a beneficiary. It's not fun and increases your stress level. The best thing I can suggest is to tell your sister that the probate judge won't allow travel expenses to be paid out since it wasn't specifically stated in the will. Then suggest that as a beneficiary she'll get proceeds when the estate is settled.

If things get worse, you can always petition the court to step down as executor and offer it up to your sister.
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Old 04-22-2015, 08:52 PM   #31
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Oldbidness, sorry for your loss, and I agree with the others who've said don't do anything that could expose you to a claim. It sounds like no matter what you do, your sister won't think it's enough.

Harley, how old are your brother's kids? If they're still minors, maybe you could do something to make sure the money at least gets used for their benefit (contribute to a 529 or make a gift in trust for them)?
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:01 PM   #32
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I may just tell her that there is no way I'll reimburse her expenses from the estate, but after the estate settles she can tell me how much money she wants and I'll give it to her out of my part. Whatever she thinks is "fair".
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:27 PM   #33
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I don't think you should have to pay for her travel out of your own pocket, unless she is in genuine financial need, which does not appear to be the case.

I found the link below. Be aware that it refers to Canadian law and may not be valid in your jurisdiction. It also seems to have come up while the testator was alive. But at least this question has been answered by a lawyer.

Estate Law Canada: How do I document an advance on an inheritance?

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Old 04-22-2015, 11:07 PM   #34
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Harley, how old are your brother's kids? If they're still minors, maybe you could do something to make sure the money at least gets used for their benefit (contribute to a 529 or make a gift in trust for them)?
Nope, they're all adults, in the late 20s/30 range. Actually, SIL is the one least likely to do anything wise with the money. She went through a couple hundred $K in insurance money within 2 years after his death. I don't know the kids that well. One of them might have a head on his shoulders. The older one is delivering pizzas at age 30. It's just something I think I should do to be fair. After that it's their choice. I'm pretty sure if I had died before Mom and DB had still been alive, my DW and DD wouldn't have been in the will, and that would have been a crappy thing to do too. We put the Funk in dysfunctional.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:39 AM   #35
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When my mother died, her will left everything to me. As Harley does, I felt that some people close to her deserved a gift. So I waited until the proceedings had been completed and gave the gifts myself "on behalf of my mother". They were very much appreciated.
Yes when my brother died, I gifted each of my boys $50k from his estate, representing it as their "inheritance". They lived in the same city as him and often helped him out. He had no wife or children. But my kids thought it was from him rather than me. It changed their lives, each in their own way.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:46 AM   #36
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Yes when my brother died, I gifted each of my boys $50k from his estate, representing it as their "inheritance". They lived in the same city as him and often helped him out. He had no wife or children. But my kids thought it was from him rather than me. It changed their lives, each in their own way.
How'd you do it without hitting the gift tax limit? I think it's $14K per gifter now. I can do the $25K by DW and I each writing a check, but it would be nice to do like you did and make it look like it came from Mom instead of me.

Of course, feel free to take the 5th if necessary.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:57 AM   #37
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How'd you do it without hitting the gift tax limit? I think it's $14K per gifter now. I can do the $25K by DW and I each writing a check, but it would be nice to do like you did and make it look like it came from Mom instead of me.

Of course, feel free to take the 5th if necessary.
There is no gift tax in Canada.

TaxTips.ca - Gifts and inheritances - When are they taxable?

What's CRA's Position on Family Gifts? | FBC, Canada’s Farm & Small Business Tax Specialist

No 5th Amendment either! 😀
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:45 AM   #38
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Never heard of someone asking for a parent's funeral travel expense reimbursed. If she is destitute, I may understand. If not, tsk, tsk, tsk.
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Old 04-23-2015, 11:59 AM   #39
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I may just tell her that there is no way I'll reimburse her expenses from the estate, but after the estate settles she can tell me how much money she wants and I'll give it to her out of my part. Whatever she thinks is "fair".
If you do decide to do an advance on her inheritance, check the laws. My father had a court appointed trustee/executor. DB (deadbeat brother) saw the $$$ in his eyes and wanted a relatively small advance on his inheritance. As most was tied up in real estate to be sold, there was limited cash on hand. Executor said he had to advance to all 3 siblings or the other 2 had to approve the advance to DB. Don't know if it was CA law or CYA on executor's part.
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:11 PM   #40
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It seems obvious, but why can't she just put the expenses on a credit card and make minimum payments until she receives her portion of the inheritance? I was out of state when my DM passed, but I never would have considered asking or accepting any compensation. What if there wasn't an inheritance involved? Would she not attend?
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