Re Estate of great uncle, in New York state, died 2010.The estate is being divided between my deceased father and his 5 brothers and sisters (1 in Ireland, 4 in UK), with my deceased father's share coming to my 2 sisters (1 in the UK, 1 in New Zealand) and myself (Italy).The administrator of the estate whilst stating that he was aware of my father and that he knew he was deceased, didn't verify that my father was deceased or if he had any living children before distributing most of the estate to my father's siblings, who are all aware of our existence and seemed to have forgotten to mention this and that is despite my Uncle who was dealing with the estate contacting me directly to confirm our names and addresses, specifically for the settlement of the estate.Each beneficiary (ie the 6 including my father) is entitled to USD170,000 appx each, but 5 of the beneficiaries have already been paid USD 180,000 appx each.There is USD130,000 remaining in the estate, which has been earmarked for us. The lawyer is trying to recover the overpayments from my aunts and uncles but they are ignoring his requests. They were all paid in spring last year, whilst my sisters and I have been paid nothing to date.I have provided the lawyer with documentary evidence of my father's death (death cert) and birth certificates for my sisters and I late last year.The administrator has now asked for my sisters and I to sign a waiver of citation allowing him to act as the administrator of the estate. He has ticked the box per the below:[X] that a bond be dispensed with and hereby specifically release any claim I might have under any bond that may be filed.Before signing the form, I wanted to take some advice. I have researched the form online and understand that by signing it I am waiving my right to be the administrator of the estate, but I also understand that taking out a bond may have protected us from the current situation where the estate has not been distributed correctly. I assume the other beneficiaries have already ticked this box, but I wonder if my sisters and I should be ticking it, given that we know we are unlikely to ever recover the USD 40,000 appx overpayment to our aunts and uncles. Perhaps at this point it is irrelevant, but before signing I would like to understand what I am agreeing to.Can you give me some comments on the form, the bond and any other relevant thoughts regarding our situation?ThanksPatrick
State/Country relating to question: New York
I have been working directly with the administrator of the estate for the last year and he has been attempting to resolve the situation, but is now having to take legal action in Ireland and the UK as my aunts and uncles are ignoring him.
Now that I am being asked to officially sign documentation to waive my rights as administrator and also to agree that no bond be taken out, I want to take independant advice
Hello Patrick: I'll try to help with some general information. The (no) bond provision merely states that the administrator doesn't have to post a bond, but if he does it will only insure those other heirs who have not checked that box. It will not cover you. Any bond that is posted now will not cover the error that was made. My thoughts are: 1) Why is the administrator asking for a bond waiver now? The estate is nearly ready to close and bonds are usually posted at the outset. 2) Who is to pay the cost to pursue collection of the over payments? 3) Will the cost of doing so further reduce what is left for you and your siblings and if so, is it worth pursuing? Those are all the thoughts I have base on the information you have provided.
1) not sure exactly why now. Initially, my uncle was dealing with the estate on behalf of all of us but when I heard nothing after a year, I contact the administrator directly. By that time he had already paid out much of the estate. He said he knew about my father and that he was deceased, but he didnt know we existed, which would suggest my uncle didnt share our details with him.
The administrator has now verified that my sisters and I are real and that my father is deceased and presumably is doing what he needs to do in order to settle up with us.
2) I asked the administrator this. I had instructed him to just settle up with what is left as I dont think my aunts and uncles will ever pay back the money, even if he takes legal action. He advised that the court requires him to distribute the estate correctly and he has to do this. He said he didnt know about the costs and if they would come out of the estate, but that the lawyers in the UK and Ireland said he would win in court and the costs would be awarded against my aunts and uncles. He said he would investigate with the court if we can renounce part of our inheritance due to this issue. The amount in question is USD40,000 appx.
3) my sisters and I determined it isnt worth it, but the administrator has advised that he has to persue this, although per my comment above, he will check if we can renounce part of our inheritance.
thanks for the speedy response, much appreciated
The administrator himself might be liable to you for the $40k. Therefore the cost of pursuing the recovery should be his expense and not an expense of the estate. It would be best to have that in writing from him. Also, if that is the case, there is no reason for him not to distribute the remaining estate to you and your sisters now. He can do his final accounting for the court after the collection activity is finished. After all, the other heirs received their distributions a long time ago.
Thanks again for another speedy response! We will move ahead with the forms.
I suspect the adminsitrator is concerned about being liable for the USD40,000 shortfall, but I have assumed to date that I would need to take an action against him for that to happen. Is this something the probate court would determine independently? I am not sure how strong a case there is if the administrator was deceived by my uncle, but he didn't get my father's death certificate or check for living descendents until after paying out most of the estate.
Usually a Probate Court would make that determination based on objections to a final report to close the estate. Is the administrator an attorney by any chance? If so, his Errors & Omissions insurance coverage might to cover the loss. If that is the case, I'm sure he has notified them. But if that is the case, I'm surprised that he hasn't already accepted your offer to waive the error and sent you releases to sign. You would have to consult with a local probate attorney to determine what procedure to follow to bring the matter before the court.
30+ yrs. handling probate estate, wills, trust, inheritance & real estate related matters
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