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Old 09-04-2018, 07:11 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Travelfreek View Post
It's true she (niece) never took money or wrote checks off the account. After MIL passed, we went ahead and closed the account that had the niece's name on it and opened a new checking account w/ just my husband and my name on it to manage the house rental etc. As I said, niece was thankful at that time when we sent her $1500 check and was "surprised by it". We also gave her daughter and her daughter's husband a houseful of furniture from the estate and let them pick through all the stuff (55 years of accumulation). It's just strange that 6 1/2 years after the passing of MIL, she freaks out about not getting half the "stuff" which by then was just money (proceeds of house and any remaining funds left). So, she never cashed the check of $1000 nor did she give her 2 kids their $250 checks each to cash that were in the same envelope. We called bank and they said checks older than 6 mos are no longer negotiable, so we are not worried about them cashing now. We did send her son who got married a check for $300 though we were not invited.

My husband was an only child and always in good standing with his parents and eventually just his mom after his Dad passed. My reason for posting is for others to not make this type of mistake for "convenience reasons". When my MIL got sick (10 weeks preceding her death) my husband and I would take alternating trips to Michigan to help her figure out everything while she was in skilled nursing and then assisted living before she passed. We spent at least 4 weeks of the 10 weeks in Michigan. It was a blessing to help her and get her situated and as comfortable as possible.

Maybe it's the niece's heavy drinking that got her to this strange place. We may never know since she never wrote or called my husband since.
now that sounds more like the usual family legal brawl in my family , maybe there was some items or property that was liquidated that she believed was being left to her ( that happened with some property left by the paternal grandfather .. that accelerated an already 17 year old feud between my paternal side of the family and my mother ( both my father and paternal grandfather had died two years before with the grandfather outliving that son by a few months ) it WASN'T the money my mother was willing to buy out the other interests of grandfathers property , but they demolished it and sold it before disclosing they were selling it revealing belatedly my mother was actually the executor of the will despite not being a blood relative .

PS , it might sound vindictive but i have never communicated with them after that ( more than 40 years ago ) and they are unlikely to have got the news my mother died over 10 years ago , for the same reason

no drinking involved it that dispute ( just greed and jealousy )
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:16 AM   #42
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I don't have anything useful to add to the conversation, other than the fact that if and when I help people, I do it because I want to help, with no expectation of getting anything in return. That's easy for me to say though, because I have always relied on myself for my own financial stability and well-being. Why would I want other people's money when I have my own?

I guess that some folk look to others for their spending money. Actually, we know they do. Pretty much everyone here knows folk like that. The niece sounds like she might be a good example.
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Old 09-04-2018, 10:29 AM   #43
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The title of the thread should be "The pitfalls of not making you bequests known to everyone before you die."

The checking account was incidental. The surprise factor seems to be the trigger of the unhappiness.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:51 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Travelfreek View Post
So, I'm curious what others think of what transpired after my Mother in Law added her niece to her checking account in order to make it convenient should something happen to her and bills needed to be paid. My husband (only child) lived in CA and his mom (my mother in law) lived in Michigan. Her niece lived in Michigan also. So, in about 2009, as her health was beginning to fail my mother in law added her niece's name on the checking account and also added my husband (her son) to the account. The checks that were printed just showed the niece and my mother in law, however.

The revocable living trust in place showed my husband as the sole heir to everything unless he pre-deceased his mother. But in that case, our children would inherit the assets (house, money, etc.). The IRA MIL owned had my husband as beneficiary and his cousin (the niece) as contingent beneficiary should my husband pre-decease my mother in law.

So, fast forward to her death in 2010. My husband took control of house and money. As a kind gesture, he sent his cousin (the niece) a check for $1500. She said she was pleased and surprised by it and all seem to be fine. Then in late 2016 after house that was used as investment property was sold, my husband sent $1000 with a Christmas card to cousin (niece). She wrote him a snotty email about expecting half of his mother's stuff. He wrote her back asking what she meant by that. She never replied and never talked to him again. They used to call each other a couple times a month. The only thing I can think of is that she got a feeling of entitlement due to the name on the checking account. Any of you had similar problems along these lines?

I talked to her (his cousin/the niece) on the phone just once after this "blowup" and she was as as cold as ice. I suggested she call my husband and that he missed her. She said nothing. We weren't invited to her son's wedding though I was Godmother. I'll also mention not to discredit her but she's a big spender (lots of credit card debt and lives beyond means) and a heavy drinker. In spite of that, we valued her relationship with my husband (they were close all those years -nearly 60). Really kind of heartbreaking. My reason for writing this is to make sure that names being added to checking accounts are a bad idea for many reasons unless the name added is the sole heir only. My mother in law never expressed verbally to us (or in writing) that she wanted specific amounts of money or assets going to the niece. Otherwise, we wouldn't have hesitated to share some of the assets.
It sounds like some assumptions were made on the part of the niece and, unfortunately you also do not know what MIL and niece discussed. Good rule of thumb....if it is not in writing, it never happened.


Personally I have found that weddings and funerals bring out the worst in some people and it usually centers around expectations. I am so sorry your family is going through this.
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Old 09-04-2018, 11:53 AM   #45
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No, we confirmed she got them. Thatís when she replied, ďI thought I was getting half her stuff.Ē The checking Acct we wrote them from is our current credit union checking acct. Even if she did cash hers and her kids did too, it would be fine with me and my husband.
I just get the feeling something is missing here. No rational person assumes that maybe helping Auntie pay her bills by signing a few checks means they will get half of all of Auntie's stuff when she checks out...

Mom put nothing in writing, I completely believe you when you say Mom did not express that to you verbally. So did Mom tell this to her relative or is the relative simply trying to guilt you into giving her money. You might try asking the woman directly did my Mom tell you she was giving you half her stuff because she never told me that. Then you have a different problem if she says Yes...
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:24 PM   #46
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Wow! Thatís not right at all. The niece in our case didnít do any caregiving whatsoever nor did she pay any bills or help out around MILís house. She did visit occasionally (2 or 3 times a year) and just stayed a night in hotel with her husband nearby my MIL.
She probably thought she was going to get something that would make her life better. After that didn't happen, she is taking her bitterness out on your husband, since aunt is no longer around.

Weird, but I think when you inherit something that someone else coveted, then you also inherit their bitterness to some degree. My wife is experiencing some of this with her sister over their Mom's stuff. And I think it will follow both of them the rest of their lives in some manner or another.
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:33 PM   #47
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Hopefully your wife checked with a lawyer and charged the maximum executor's fee allowable in her state.
Yes, the lawyer suggested she take the fee, and my wife did. It was only $1,000, since it only applied to the non-beneficiary assets. Any she was lucky to get that, since her aunt actually made a mistake, and didn't have a beneficiary she intended.

Rather than $1,000 or any financial number, I think my wife would have appreciated some acknowledgment and some gratitude. Her aunt had some mental illnesses, and she was often difficult to deal with. No surprise why her 3 brothers, sister, and father kept their distance as best they could.
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:44 PM   #48
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I now have a bill (to my mother) from AT&T for $60 for return check fees even though I repeatedly tried to cancel the autopay after her death. I would not have thought this would be an issue but it was a huge issue.... (still not resolved as no one I talk to at AT&T has been able to solve this and I can't find a live person to write).
If it was me at this point I would simply ignore it. You gave them more than adequate notice, several times, and if they can't be bothered to take action on it that's their problem, not yours. And while it is the executor's responsibility to pay the estate's legitimate bills I would say this is not a legitimate bill because you did try to cancel the phone and they ignored you.

What are they gonna do about it? Send it to collections? So if collections calls, direct their attention to the cemetery.
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Old 09-05-2018, 02:03 PM   #49
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If it was me at this point I would simply ignore it. You gave them more than adequate notice, several times, and if they can't be bothered to take action on it that's their problem, not yours. And while it is the executor's responsibility to pay the estate's legitimate bills I would say this is not a legitimate bill because you did try to cancel the phone and they ignored you.

What are they gonna do about it? Send it to collections? So if collections calls, direct their attention to the cemetery.
Worst case scenarios. They could see me as executor for the amount of the bill I was distributed from my mom's estate making the argument this is a valid bill. While theoretically possible, I think this is extremely, extremely unlikely since the total amount is about $75.

A somewhat more likely possibility is that they try to collect money from me as beneficiary executor of her estate (see above) and don't sue me (just send a demand) and then ding my credit saying I owed the money...

I think the second possibility is not terribly likely but it is possible (no matter how unfounded).
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Old 09-05-2018, 02:38 PM   #50
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Worst case scenarios. They could see me for the amount I was distributed from my mom's estate making the argument this is a valid bill. While theoretically possible, I think this is extremely, extremely unlikely since the total amount is about $75.

A somewhat more likely possibility is that they try to collect money from my as beneficiary of her estate (see above) and don't sue me (just send a demand) and then ding my credit saying I owed the money...
I suppose that is possible but I really don't see AT&T bothering to send an attorney after a bill that is less than $100. I'd be willing to take the gamble that they wouldn't.

We had sort of a similar issue with Comcast when DW's father was moving from his house to a CCRC. We had taken two cable boxes to the Comcast office local to us, not to the one near FIL, a two-hour round trip. They tried to tell me that they could not be held responsible if the boxes were lost since they would have to go to a different Comcast district or something. I told them I didn't care and that we would ignore any further bills from Comcast, as FIL's life expectancy was then measured in months and DW was handling his finances. Apparently the boxes went where they were supposed to since we never heard anything from them, but we made sure to hang on to the receipt until the estate was settled.
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Old 09-05-2018, 03:12 PM   #51
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Worst case scenarios. They could see me for the amount I was distributed from my mom's estate making the argument this is a valid bill. While theoretically possible, I think this is extremely, extremely unlikely since the total amount is about $75.

A somewhat more likely possibility is that they try to collect money from my as beneficiary of her estate (see above) and don't sue me (just send a demand) and then ding my credit saying I owed the money...

I think the second possibility is not terribly likely but it is possible (no matter how unfounded).
No, they can't collect from you. Wasn't this the account that you had to fight with the bank over because they incorrectly removed the POD designation? I think I posted this before, but I'll repeat it. It's a common misconception that beneficiaries - that is, those who inherit funds via TOD/POD, not via probate - are legally responsible for all debts incurred by the estate. Utility bills, credit card debt, etc. need only be paid from property that had to go through probate. Funds from a bank account inherited via TOD/POD belong to the named beneficiary. No accounting need be given to the courts. Claim forms are filled out and returned with a death certificate. That's it. End of story. Creditors lose, beneficiaries win. IANAL, but I've BTDT.
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Old 09-05-2018, 03:26 PM   #52
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No, they can't collect from you. Wasn't this the account that you had to fight with the bank over because they incorrectly removed the POD designation? I think I posted this before, but I'll repeat it. It's a common misconception that beneficiaries - that is, those who inherit funds via TOD/POD, not via probate - are legally responsible for all debts incurred by the estate. Utility bills, credit card debt, etc. need only be paid from property that had to go through probate. Funds from a bank account inherited via TOD/POD belong to the named beneficiary. No accounting need be given to the courts. Claim forms are filled out and returned with a death certificate. That's it. End of story. Creditors lose, beneficiaries win. IANAL, but I've BTDT.
IAAL. And actually when I said beneficiary in the prior post, I really meant to say as executor (in this case I am both beneficiary and executor and I used the term beneficiary when I meant as executor). (Edited prior post to clarify).

I am not a probate specialist so now one should rely on my opinion as to probate or estate matters. But, in my state in some cases a person with a valid unsecured claim can sue the independent executor on claims.

To sum up. I do not claim that I as beneficiary of my mom's bank account am legally responsible for her debts, if any. I have never, ever asserted that.

My mother does have other assets which will be passed through probate and will be distributed by me as executor. If an unsecured creditor has a valid claim against the estate and it is not paid, under certain circumstances that creditor can sue me as executor.

I do not think that AT&T will bring such a lawsuit given the small amount in controversy. I could see AT&T wrongly attempting to ding my credit though even thought that is probably also unlikely.
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Old 09-05-2018, 04:49 PM   #53
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IAAL. And actually when I said beneficiary in the prior post, I really meant to say as executor (in this case I am both beneficiary and executor and I used the term beneficiary when I meant as executor). (Edited prior post to clarify).

I am not a probate specialist so now one should rely on my opinion as to probate or estate matters. But, in my state in some cases a person with a valid unsecured claim can sue the independent executor on claims.

To sum up. I do not claim that I as beneficiary of my mom's bank account am legally responsible for her debts, if any. I have never, ever asserted that.

My mother does have other assets which will be passed through probate and will be distributed by me as executor. If an unsecured creditor has a valid claim against the estate and it is not paid, under certain circumstances that creditor can sue me as executor.

I do not think that AT&T will bring such a lawsuit given the small amount in controversy. I could see AT&T wrongly attempting to ding my credit though even thought that is probably also unlikely.
Sorry if I worded that wrong. I should have said that as a beneficiary of your mom's bank account, you're not obligated to use those funds to pay this debt. The funds were legally your property even before you were able to access them. They were not a part of your mom's estate which, yes, is subject to valid creditor claims. That point was made quite clear to me by 2 attorneys upon the deaths of both of my parents, several years apart. So, I've BTDT twice.

This doesn't appear to be a valid claim. Don't lose any sleep over it. They can't ding your credit because it's not your bill. At any rate, creditors can't make claims against an estate any old time they want to. There are strict time frames involved for obvious reasons.

Speaking only for myself here, I'm not going to address this situation in this thread anymore, so as not to add to the hijack, as it's quite a bit different than the OP's situation.
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Old 09-11-2018, 04:45 PM   #54
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Aaah money and deceased,let me count the ways.
1) lol so at the repast of my husbands funeral his cousin approaches me (yep, right after the funeral) and ask if he could speak with me. Told me that M, my hubby had promised to lend him $250K for his new business and wanted to know if I was going to honor his promise. told him to speak with my cousin (an attorney) who is notoriously cheap and conservative investor. told him if he could convince her it was a good deal, I'd fund his business. haven't heard a peep from him.

2) My aunt in law gave my husband some Japanese rice paper paintings evidently from WWII that he was going to frame for her, after he passed my mother in law said that they were left to both her and her sister by their dad and she wanted 1/2 of them. Of course the aunt said that she had them for the last 50 years and she gave them to M and wanted them back.
I told them both that anything in this house belonged to me.

I plan on spending every thing so no need to fight, won't be anything left. lol
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Old 09-13-2018, 12:32 PM   #55
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Hopefully your wife checked with a lawyer and charged the maximum executor's fee allowable in her state.
+1
Exactly what I what thinking.
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