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Old 03-12-2015, 10:14 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,177 times
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Wanted to share this experience one would never have imagined the outcome.

A widowed woman appoints her brother as executor of her estate by will and her attorney draws it up. It is detailed account of whom will get what, etc. (Trivial items like records, photos, etc) The facts here - the woman only owns a car that holds an outstanding loan and she rents an apartment with old furniture.

When she dies, her brother has body removed to funeral home, no service, disposal cremation... cost $4000. He continues to clean her estate, hoping to find bank accounts, etc, but nothing. Her automobile is sent back to the dealer. After hours of sorting, hiring a truck to haul away stuff to auction and donate, the estate brings $500. And not to forget the lawyers fee for handling the will... It all added up to about $7000 expenses the executor is out. An insurance policy for $10,000 was left to a her step-son as beneficiary. He is not in the picture, nor willing to help defer any expenses.

So to sum this up not sure how this could have been handled better? When you don't have anything, why do you need a lawyer to draw up a will? Any tips on how this situation should have been handled? It is over now, but curious on this. State is Ohio. Being an executor is not always an honor!
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:19 AM
 
Location: SoCal
6,063 posts, read 9,522,564 times
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Can the executor not apply to the court for expenses and a "reasonable salary" to come from the estate (including the insurance policy)?
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:47 AM
 
Location: middle tennessee
1,924 posts, read 986,927 times
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I think life ins is only part of the estate when there is no one named on the policy or person named is deceased.

May be the woman had more assets when the will was drawn and spent them down before her death.

This sounds tacky, but brother should have made sure there was enough in the estate to cover burial expenses before he made the arrangements if he was not prepared to foot the bill himself.

This is sad.

Why did the lawyer have to "handle the will"?

I hope this post does not offend anyone. I am interested because I could be that woman some day and I don't want to burden my heirs if possible.

You can decline to be the executor. Did the family think the woman had assets?

Last edited by newcomputer; 03-12-2015 at 10:54 AM.. Reason: just thought of something....
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:24 AM
 
3,758 posts, read 10,631,420 times
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Hmm..

Not sure what the lawyer was "handling" - if you mean the lawyer was representing the executor of the will in probate - then sure, the lawyer is probably due expenses -- but this should have never gone to probate.

No titled property. Even the vehicle would just go back to the lender as there was a note on the vehicle.

The state doesn't generally care who ends up with bequests of household goods (photos, records, etc..) - but only real assets such as real estate, owned vehicles, stocks, bank accounts, etc..

If there weren't any of those, it should have been very easy to close the probate (no assets).

As far as paying someone to clean out the woman's home, someone would have had to do that - I suppose it was nice of the executor to do it (else it would have fallen to the landlord) - but there is no guarantee of a payout by any means.

Similar with paying to have her remains taken care of... Harder to spend much less than $3K (my mom, no ceremony, cremation - we still spent just over $3k). Again, sorry for this executor, but not someone has to pay for that, so not surprising.

Insurance policy is separate (becuase of named beneficiary) and is not property of the estate - so untouchable.

Unfortunate situation, but I'm sure things like this occur all the time when someone with no assets passes.
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Old 03-12-2015, 12:37 PM
 
2,429 posts, read 3,221,988 times
Reputation: 3330
1) does a person need your permission to be named as executor?
2) IF you didn't know, can you just say that...and don't care what the ill says I didn't agree to it and "I'm not doing it?"
3) A person can't be FORCED to do it, can they?

I was/am my mom's executrix. Working on the estate now. We also had done previous estate planning, so even though her estate is small. I knew from the start I would do the document collection, handle service arrangements, things like that -- but that I'd let the law firm we used over the years handle any estate administration and official filings with the state. The CPA we've used did her final tax return. She has ONE thing to go through probate. And the state has a 'small' estate process that really is just a declaration form for estates under a certain amount. Even so I'm letting them handle it. They drew up our trust. They have the will on file. It's money well spent, in my case, and IMO. I had enough to do without worrying about that.

I WILL SAY...the ONE THING...that for me was VITAL....was having MONEY ON HAND IMMEDIATELY, to pay for her service and things that needed to be done. None of this waiting for an insurance policy, or signing it over to the funeral home, or putting it on MY credit card, and waiting to get reimbursed, or trying to borrow money from relatives. But our account was joint so I was able to move right away to get things done. I don't know HOW people do it, with no money immediately at hand to work with. I mean, they manage, but I don't even want to think about having to do it that way.

A coworker's sister in another state died unexpectedly. She died insolvent, but he handled everything. She was in an aprt...(so now house or property). Her car was paid for had been paid for (so he sold that). He said she did have a small insurance policy with him as beneficiary. HE says it was only about 10K, and swears he'll only break even, and may lose money on it.

I think he was the named executor in the will, and he said even so -- a court had to official name him as some other title, 'estate representative' or something, I don't recall. And that took more than a week....and he said he couldn't really get much financial info with out that. So what little she did have in her checking account was gone by the time he could really do anything about it. Her automated payments like utilities, rent and other stuff were processed and since she had no paycheck going in -- I THINK she was out on disability (and lord knows the government stops checks before a body is even cold) Anyway, he said by the time he could get the bank to work with him her account was insolvent.

But what struck me was the lawyer he had help him. Told him he didn't have to file a final tax return for her. He said the lawyer said she didn't have any assets, she died insolvent., that the brother is not responsible for filing a return, the estate has no money....so don't bother with a return. I was like ....are you sure you want to do that? But he said he was told he didn't have to, he wasn't legally responsible for doing so...I was like OK if you say so....
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Old 03-12-2015, 01:07 PM
 
527 posts, read 1,089,269 times
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Yes, the job of Exectuor is not fun, in fact, most times, functioning as Executor is work, and time consuming.
Depending on the state, an Executor can , by law, be allowed to draw a fee of 10% "of the estate".
The estate will also pay any fees or expenses associated with closing the estate.

If no beneficiary is named on a life insurance policy (like life insurance from an employer, where the deceased failed to name a beneficiary) the life insurance is paid to the deceased estate, thereby becoming part of the estate, and disposed of by terms of the will.

You cannot be forced to be an executor, if you are named as one and do not want to accept the job, you can go to the probate judge and decline the job. Then it is up to the judge to find someone else who will accept it.
Who that someone is is dictated by state law, spouse, children, relative, anyone
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Old 03-12-2015, 01:16 PM
 
1,769 posts, read 2,440,841 times
Reputation: 5159
Life insurance is separate from a WILL. If you suddenly find yourself an executor with no previous knowledge, the best thing is probably to refuse it. I know I would. I've been involved in these sorts of things several times. By the time an estate is closed, if there are many debts and some claims, the executor may never be paid.
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Old 03-12-2015, 01:21 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,487 posts, read 62,101,894 times
Reputation: 32143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupertlaw View Post
A widowed woman appoints her brother as executor of her estate
So to sum this up not sure how this could have been handled better?
1) Don't layout your cash (or at least not much) until you know what is there
to cover the common expenses associated.

2) The attorney should have been provided with financial detail about assets etc.
2a) With evidence of such paucity their ethics should have stepped in to not run up a bill.
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,967,079 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupertlaw View Post
Wanted to share this experience one would never have imagined the outcome.

A widowed woman appoints her brother as executor of her estate by will and her attorney draws it up. It is detailed account of whom will get what, etc. (Trivial items like records, photos, etc) The facts here - the woman only owns a car that holds an outstanding loan and she rents an apartment with old furniture.

When she dies, her brother has body removed to funeral home, no service, disposal cremation... cost $4000. He continues to clean her estate, hoping to find bank accounts, etc, but nothing. Her automobile is sent back to the dealer. After hours of sorting, hiring a truck to haul away stuff to auction and donate, the estate brings $500. And not to forget the lawyers fee for handling the will... It all added up to about $7000 expenses the executor is out. An insurance policy for $10,000 was left to a her step-son as beneficiary. He is not in the picture, nor willing to help defer any expenses.

So to sum this up not sure how this could have been handled better? When you don't have anything, why do you need a lawyer to draw up a will? Any tips on how this situation should have been handled? It is over now, but curious on this. State is Ohio. Being an executor is not always an honor!
A revocable trust would have avoided probate (and the several thousand to the lawyer to handle that), but to set one up costs $$ and so she probably could not have done that.
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:23 PM
 
7,977 posts, read 11,653,739 times
Reputation: 10473
I'm not sure how it could have been handled better. Family, i.e. the brother here, is expected to handle the work and expenses of family regardless of wills so I think the outcome would have been the same regardless of being named executor unless step son relationship somehow trumps brother?
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