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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33781
Experience:  15 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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Can the accountant of an estate also be the beneficiary?

Customer Question

Can the accountant of an estate also be the beneficiary?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Are you talking about an "accountant" in terms of someone who handles the books and does someone's taxes?

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Or do you mean "executor" of the estate?

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Does a will make this person a beneficiary of some or all of the assets?

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Or if not, is the person a child or spouse of the deceased?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
My mother's accountant (does all of her taxes and investments) is married to the woman that my mother has named as executor of her estate. The wife will receive one quarter of my mother's estate when she dies. I( her only daughter) just found out the terms of her will. It seemed like a situation for a conflict of interest. I know executors often benefit from the terms of the will , but this is an unusual situation and I just wanted a little feedback from a lawyer about this. Thank you!
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Thank you for that information.. From a purely legal perspective, there is no conflict of interest and nothing improper about a testator making gifts to people, including executors, who they are close to and who have worked for them or their family in the past. Testators often give gifts to caregivers, accountants, attorneys, etc. in their wills as a way of saying "thank you" for their help and loyalty over the testator's life.

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I have personally been given gifts by clients from their estate after years of representing and looking out for their interests.

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The only way it is improper if if the beneficiary has exerted some type of coercion or undue influence on the testator to compel them to give the gift and it is not of the testator's own free will..

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So here, it is the wife of someone who has helped mother during her lifetime and I would opine that some sort of friendship has developed and mother wants to reward the wife for some reason..

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But from a legal perspective, I do not see anything that would appear improper, although that does seem to be a large bequest unless there is some type of personal friendship there..

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thanks

Barrister

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