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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55444
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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My cousin died in Las Vegas. s estate was left, and one of

Customer Question

My cousin died in Las Vegas. His estate was left, and one of the executors is also listed as a receiver of his estate. We cannot get any answers as to what iwas in estate. No accounting of anything. Handel on the law said that was illegal and assets could be frozen. My mother and I (cousin) are his only living relatives. He left us a large sum, nothing compared to what his estate was worth. Taxes were paid to irs amount eight million dollars, the two trustees said. We cannot get them to send us any information concerning anything. They are wanting to pay us one lump sum 200,000 plus. But shouldn't his estate continent to grow? We do not have an attorney & don't want to seem greedy,but just need some advice. Thank you,Barbara Roller tulsa,okla.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barbara. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you.

You absolutely have rights there. The estate and its assets are not the executor's personal piggy bank simply because he's the executor. The executor has a fiduciary duty to each beneficiary. Each beneficiary is entitled to have the executor timely file the will for probate...usually within 30 days of death..., to timely administer the estate specifically pursuant to the terms of the will, to have the executor provide a copy of the full inventory of assets and periodic accounting of every dime in and out of the estate. Unless there is a particular situation complicating the administration, the administration of an estate, even if taxable, should not take more than 18 months if a Federal estate tax return is required. If the executor fails to produce the inventory, periodic accounting, or fails to timely administer the estate specifically in accordance to the will, you can file a petition with the probate court to have him removed as the executor for breach of fiduciary duty. And, if an accounting, which the court will order if the executor has not provided one, shows there to be any misappropriation of estate assets or funds, you can also ask the court to award actual and punitive damages against the executor. In your situation, I would put this executor on written notice by certified letter of the foregoing and let him know if he does not satisfy his fiduciary duty to all beneficiaries in the administration of the estate, including keeping you informed of the progress, you will be filing the petition with the court to have him removed and be asking the court to order an audit of the estate.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He died in October, 2009. It was 2 years before we got a redacted copy of the trust agreements, an exempt and nonexempt. We had to hire an attorney to get full copies and assets list. We still have not seen his will, if he had one, but there were several million dollars of his estate that were not included in the trusts. Most I suppose were in joint names. He was in a long time homosexual relationship with his partner who received 50% of the trusts and 7 beneficiaries that shared equally the other 50%, and he is the executor.
There were actually 3 trusts set up; exempt, non-exempt and administrative. The administrative was said to contain "illiquid assets" and other assets totaling over $1 million. It was said to be for handling the costs of administering the trusts but sounds like a personal piggy bank to me. This trust was set up after all the taxes were paid all debts paid.
When we received the K-1s for 2014 I called the CPA that sent them and asked for a breakout of the costs and he said there were none for these accounts. He said he did not know the amounts but that the costs were being paid out of the administrative trust. I called the trust attorney and asked that our funds be withdrawn and transferred to our financial advisor so we could know how they were being handled and what the costs were. He said that could not be done because the funds for all beneficiaries were comingled. My mother, who was one of the 7 beneficiaries, died in January 2014 and hers was cashed out and paid to her three children (me for 1) at approximately $185,000 each (total about $550,000). This should indicate the value of my accounts as well. I told him we wanted an accounting of the income and expenses of the trusts as required and he seemed surprised we had not received any. He died over 5 years ago and we have never received any accounting. He said he would check into it but that was 2 weeks ago and not heard back from him. We do not trust these people and want to remove them from control of our money.
When he died his partner took care of the death certificates, funeral, burial, etc. I think it was illegal to even release his body to his partner since he was not a relative. The doctors would not even release medical records to him. Again, we do not trust these people.
I think if we pressure them enough and challenge them enough they will release our funds just to get us to leave them alone. Your thoughts?Thank you
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for following up. I agree. You just need to put pressure on them because they absolutely had a fiduciary duty to keep you informed and provided accountings. So, I would start with the demand letter and follow up with the filing of the suit...seeking removal and actual and punitive damages due to their either gross negligence or willful misconduct. It's amazing what being served with a summons one is be being sued does to "motivate" that person to want to resolve things quickly. :)