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Families issues, advice?
Old 10-19-2012, 07:13 PM   #1
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Families issues, advice?

Hi all! Any advice is well recieved. I visited ER forms before and often read here only. However knowing there are many great folks here I pose this seneario. I fear my only family, the family thats left will be torn apart. Its inner family history repeating itself, a generation later. Again, If you can follow this, I'd appreciate any advice. My 2 cousins, my only family (plus their parents) lefts parents are still alive. My younger cousin is executor of their parents will. My older cousin has a physical disability and relies on my assistance, as I also am disabled, we rely on each other in a manor of speaking. She's concerned that her sibling will mis-allocate the will shes been given because her sisters deceased husband ,her deceased BIL's child already accused her sister of not distributing the will to the BILs child in the 50%/50% it was allocated. Both had a copy. The spouse of 2yrs kept everything, the will said 50% to her sister, 50% the BIL's child. This will went through probate too. Unfortunately i'm not well educated. This is the seneario another way. I'm assisting her with info. She feels her sister will misallocate what she can since she feels it was done before, w/o ramifications, she'll do it again. My input so far was see if she can get co-executorial designation in a codicil. The sister/executor lives with her 2X husbands child from another woman, whom is a CPA and her child from her first husband. I know its confusing, she needs *advice* assistance before its to late. The talking about money/will with her parents is awkaward generationally. She has a will leaving everything to her sisters kids, but her sister wants in on that too. I know MYOB, but this is family since birth. THANK YOU. I borrowed this moniker

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Old 10-19-2012, 11:30 PM   #2
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It was a little hard to understand. The only thing that comes immediately to mind is to hire a lawyer when the time comes. They can track the assets and take the hard-guy approach so you don't have to. Still heavy-handed for family, but you could claim you just didn't feel like putting enough energy into it. Either that or you'll have to be a lot more nosey and assertive.

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Old 10-20-2012, 07:54 PM   #3
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Well, how certain are you that the cousin in question did actually misappropriate the shares when the husband passed away? Did you see a copy of the will? Do you know how accounts and property were titled? Perhaps some accounts were titled JTWROS , or simply "John Doe OR Jane Doe" - which means when one person dies, all of the account becomes the legal property of the remaining account owner, and throws a monkey wrench in the issue of disbursing property.

I don't personally have any experience with probate court....but it's my understanding that when an estate is probated, it's not just a rubber stamp by a judge to start things off, and it's all done - don't executors have to give a detailed account to the court (through a public record) of everything they dispurse? Did the SIL look up the records that were filed with the probate court to see?

As far as steps your one cousin can take to ensure 'fairness' in disbursing the money...similar to what Animorph suggested, find a reputable lawyer (if you can find one from referrals from friends) who is experienced in estate planning, and tell the cousin's parents to involve that lawyer in some form.

Is it possible to show the living parents evidence of how the one cousin allegedly cheated the SIL out of his share of his inheritance, and get him to testify to the parents to show that she's not trustworthy (if, in fact, there was some shenanigans going on).
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:24 PM   #4
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So many families fight about money after a's a shame. So, here's my idea..............if you want to give money via a very clear who gets what. If you're on the receiving end of a if carefully and if you think it's unfair, get a lawyer.

If the will concerns anyone other than you................butt out. Death is difficult for the family.......don't make it any more difficult unless you have a vested personal interest. Now.............back to writing my will.
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:47 PM   #5
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Massachusetts Law About Wills and Estates

I agree that an attorney's (representing your cousin with the concerns) attention will be the best deterrent to monkey business.
BTDT as Alternate Executor for my Mom's will. I stepped in when I had to, and just as quickly stepped back once people realized they needed to fly right (execute the Will exactly as written) or suffer the consequences.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:18 PM   #6
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I'm in Canada, so laws may differ, but since both Canada and USA have a tradition based on British Common Law this might apply.

I have acted as executor multiple times. The process (here) was:
1) Apply to surrogate court to be appointed executor. Requires a petition to the surrogate court with a copy of the will naming you executor.
2) Round up all the assets.
3) Determine what applies. Things like houses held as JTWROS go direct and are not part of the estate.
4) (Somewhat abbreviated) Divide the estate among the heirs according to the will. Supply a statement of income and dispursals.
5) Get a signed release from each heir saying they agree with the accounting provided in 4)
6) Send the heirs the $
7) You are done, unless the Surrogate Court asks for an accounting. That is unlikely to happen if you have the releases from the heirs. Provide an accounting if necessary.
8) Now you are done.

So, if you think the executor 'screwed' one of the heirs, that heir can ask for a copy of the will and an accounting for all funds. In fact, (s)he should have been given this along with a request to sign a release. If not, I'm sure you (as an heir) can ask the surrogate court (or its equivalent) for an accounting. Do so.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:45 PM   #7
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Depending on the amount of money involved and if you suspect monkey business, you may want to hire an attorney experienced in this matter
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:29 PM   #8
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I'd like to thank everyone who posted.

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