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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33802
Experience:  15 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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I just learned that my brother (executor) never followed the

Customer Question

I just learned that my brother (executor) never followed the legal requirements of closing my mother's estate, yet he distributed funds to her heirs. We thought he had done this work properly. My sister was one of the heirs, but she passed away 4 months after my mom. I served as the executor of my sister's estate. I followed all of the requirements of PA to complete her estate. I distributed the balance of her funds to her heirs. Both my Mom and my sister were residents of PA.
I recently received a letter from PA addressed to my (deceased) sister, at my home address in NY, stating that taxes had not been paid on my mom's estate and that she (as a co-executor) had not closed her estate in the proper time frame.
I replied that my sister was deceased and that my mom's estate had been represented to us as closed; funds were distributed. The executor was my brother. I included his name and address.
1. What is our exposure in this situation?
2. My brother left the country about the time I received the letter to my sister.
3. My other brothers have used their inheritance from both my mom and my sister to meet living expenses (unemployment).
4. What can we expect next?
Thank you! Althea
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to helpwith your situation or get you to someone who can.

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1. What is our exposure in this situation?

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It is the executor of the estate that is responsible for withholding any applicable taxes and paying them over to the Dept of Revenue on behalf of the estate. If brother was the executor, then he can be held personally liable for any taxes that were not paid by the estate. So as heirs, you don't have any direct exposure since it was the executor's improper action that resulted in the assets being disbursed.

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However, if sister was a co-executor, she would have borne the same responsibility as brother to ensure that things were done correctly. So if she is deceased, the state could potentially come after her estate for the tax payments that were not properly withheld from mother's estate.

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4. What can we expect next?

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If you respond and tell them that brother has left the country and sister is deceased, they may decide that it is not worth the time and trouble pursuing this. But if sister has assets in her estate, then they can easily put a hold on any distributions through a court order and levy a lien on the estate for whatever mother's estate owed in taxes.

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thanks

Barrister

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