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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 35868
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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A friend passed away a few months ago and her daughter, who

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A friend passed away a few months ago and her daughter, who was living with her for the last many years was to be the recipient of the proceeds from the sale of her house and from her savings. The modest sum of money is tied up with her sibling in an estate trustee account and they both have access, I believe, to those funds. Her sibling orally had indicated that he would remove his name as soon as the final taxes were filed and still may use some of those funds to pay for that. He was the recipient of an earlier gift and was asked to help tidy things up when the time came so as to not overwhelm the daughter with such things. Is there any way to protect those funds and does it make sense that he still needs access to that account?
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Was there a will that stated daughter was to get the entire estate?
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Was brother named as a co-executor with sister?
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I am not sure what you mean when you ask is there any way to protect those funds? If you could explain a bit, I will try to help.
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for responding!


 


To my knowledge, there was not a will. There was simply trusted communication from the parent to her children of intent (the siblings are in their 70s and retired). I believe they are both co-executors of the estate. What I mean to say by protecting the funds is that since the money is intended for her and there is no will, if for any reason the other party decides to withdraw all the money and not honor the wishes of their mother (not saying this will happen) is she protected from that happening and if not how can she protect herself from that happening?

You are very welcome.
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I am afraid that I have potentially bad news for friend. If there is no will then default state law controls and determines who gets what. If there is no spouse, then when the surviving parent passed, the children would inherit equally by default.
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So if brother decided that he didn't want to give up the half of the estate he is legally entitled to, there is no way to force him to. This is simply the law that controls if a parent doesn't have a will drafted to formalize their wishes.
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That is why it is critical for a person to memorialize their wishes as to what happens to their estate while they are alive to ensure that things happen the way they intended.
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I am sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers, even when an answer is not favorable to the customer.

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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Please forgive me, as this appears asked and answered, but I must ask...does this mean he has a right to not honor that wish, even though he has indicated he will do so, but if he did he would only be entitled to half of those funds, not all? Also, this is based on the state that the deceased passed away in's laws?

does this mean he has a right to not honor that wish, even though he has indicated he will do so,
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Unfortunately yes.
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but if he did he would only be entitled to half of those funds, not all?
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Correct.
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Also, this is based on the state that the deceased passed away in's laws?
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Yes, in every state in the US, if someone is unmarried when they pass and have no will, their estate descends to their children equally under the intestacy laws.
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Thanks
Barrister
Barrister and other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am very appreciative of your kind and considered expert responses.


 


In my initial e-mail I had nearly forgotten, assuming that he does intend to do the honorable thing, does it make sense that he wants to retain his name on the account until he files the estate's final taxes and that money should stay put until then?

assuming that he does intend to do the honorable thing, does it make sense that he wants to retain his name on the account until he files the estate's final taxes and that money should stay put until then?
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Sorry about that, I forgot that one...
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Honestly, yes, because the executor or co-executor can be held personally liable for any debts that the estate has like taxes if they are not paid. So it would be prudent for him to remain on any accounts to ensure that all estate debts are settled and paid before he gives up control over the estate assets and turns them over to sister.
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I advise all my clients to not disburse any funds from estate accounts to the heirs until they are sure all debts have been paid and all taxes have been files and not challenged by the IRS. They don't want to be in a position where they disburse funds and then have to pay themselves for something they missed.
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Thanks
Barrister

Thanks so much for the positive rating and generous bonus, it is very much appreciated!

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It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. Please feel free to ask for me if you need help with anything in the future and I will do everything I can to help or get you to someone who can.

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Barrister

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much for your help. I'm deeply appreciative. I do believe her sibling is a good and honorable person, but for peace of mind this may help put her at ease. It isn't her faith in her brother (to her) inasmuch as it is a fear and uncertainty of her future as she does not have any retirement funds. Until she has this put away safely and securely as her own I don't think she will feel secure. Thus, knowing these things may ease the mind's hypothetical scenarios, especially those fed to them by friends with good intentions.


 


Thank you!