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Posted: 11/24/2003 10:08:54 AM EDT
Ok, I have some friends that are having a hard time with the estate of their mother. A sibling is making the process even harder.

I need some advice as to options. Please, no armchair lawyering and careful with what you type. I am going to show this to them and do not want to have to edit out comments.


THe situation is that my friends mother passed away after a rough couple of months. My friends were taking care of her during those months. They were named as the executor of the estate, and thus responsible for the estate taxes.
While trying to find the value of the estate, they called the sibling who would not answer how much they recieved from the will. They then recieved a letter from an attorney telling them not to contact the sibling again, that all matters would be handled through the attorney. My friends CPA advised them that they needed an attorney since the other side has gotten one.

What can they do? The estate was divided completely by the will, so there is no contesting for money. Is an attorney really needed?
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 10:19:16 AM EDT
[i]"Is an attorney really needed?"[/i] Absolutely!
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 10:29:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/24/2003 10:35:53 AM EDT by Emoto]
Something doesn't wash here (I have settled an estate). The executor(s) are in control of the entire estate and are responsible for paying all taxes, debts, etc., and making all distributions to the beneficiaries of the estate. That means that the executors are in possession of the will, and actually determine the amounts to be distributed and they write and sign the checks, which are typically drawn from an estate accountt that the executor sets up to make traking estate finances easier. Typically, it takes a year or more to fulfill all obligations and be certain that nothing else is owed to any parties before making distributions to any beneficiaries. Executors are also entitled to a fee for their efforts. If your friends don't know how much someone got, then they are not really the executors. I found that the clerk of the probate court where the will was entered into probate to be very helpful in all ways. They should not be afraid to call up the clerk and ask questions. Oh, and yes, a lawyer can be helpful but they are expensive, so I tend to use them in an a la carte manner. That is to say only for what I need. They could have a lawyer tell them what to do, and then they spend their time doing it and only have the lawyer check what they did, to minimize costs. [b]when someone involved with an estate won't tell the executor something, that usually means trouble. I hope your friends have all the bank statements, etc., so they can do some financial detective work...[/b]
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 10:37:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/24/2003 10:39:29 AM EDT by Silence]
Erm, why doesnt the executor know what was in the will? That is the prime job of the executor. To settle the debts of the estate and to see to it that the will is carried out. Get a probate lawyer NOW. Something is fishy in denmark. Edit- As far as I know all the lawyer's/probate fees come out of the estate before the will is settled.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 10:44:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/24/2003 10:46:07 AM EDT by Oslow]
Someone is confused. Your friends need a lawyer just to explain the process to them. And the executor(s) can pay for the lawyer out of the estate.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 11:22:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/24/2003 11:24:06 AM EDT by notso]
Not much of the estate was liquid assets. They are trying to figure out what stuff is in the possetion of the sibling. From what I know, it was a "this person gets my furniture, and this person gets my clothes" sort of thing. No set $$$ amounts to it, so that is why they need to know what is where. Im a little foggy on that, but I thought I would ask.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 11:37:07 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 12:13:13 PM EDT
I will let them know. Thanks for the help...
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 12:23:19 PM EDT
Along the lines of what Eric said, the executor must typically assign value to the inventory of estate for tax purposes. That inventory includes EVERYTHING. You list what is there (stocks, bonds, real estate, silverware, furniture, everything) and then fijgure out a value somehow. Some people use appraisers. Whatever physical property a beneficiary takes goes against the total value of the estate, so that the distributions can be balanced among all recipients as the will prescribes. Get a lawyer.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 12:24:03 PM EDT
Yes, they need an attorney. Find one who is a state bar certified probate specialist. Who has the will? In AZ if the original will cannot be found then it is deemed that the originator of said will destoyed it before their death, making it void. This can cause a mess if the wrong person gets access to the will first.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 7:34:33 PM EDT
What nobody bad mouthing lawyers here? I thought that was one of the most favorite pasttimes here. Depending on the size or complexity of the estate there may be an executor and an attorney working for the estate. There's a lot of things you don't really need an attorney for, this ain't one of them. Maybe all the "other" siblings can hire one together.
Link Posted: 11/24/2003 7:49:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 5:46:24 AM EDT
In 2003, the estate tax affects only people who die leaving a taxable estate of more than a million dollars.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 6:21:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BigMHoff: In 2003, the estate tax affects only people who die leaving a taxable estate of more than a million dollars.
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I cannot confirm the amount you mention, but it is worth pointing out that that is the federal tax. The executor must also satisfy state level estate taxes, which may kick in at a lower value.
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