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As an executor of my father's estate am I allowed to:

Vancouver, WA |

set up payment to one beneficiary over a set number of years, rather than a lump sum? There are 3 other beneficiaries to this estate.
He is an out of control and active hard drugs addict. I'm concerned about giving him a lump sum of over $15,000. I was hoping I could set up some type of account where he'd receive monthly payments spread over about 5 years. However, I have no idea if I have any right to do this, since he is an adult. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Your heart is definitely in the right place and you are certainly doing this beneficiary a huge favor if you can pull this off. Should you not already have a lawyer, please retain an attorney in the state where your father's will is being probated. He or she will review the will to determine whether there is a way to delay the distribution over a period of years. If not, the attorney can advise you as to whether a probate judge will entertain your idea given these unusual circumstances. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.

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Posted

It's good of you to be so conscientious! However, I would advise against doing it without some kind of approval of the court that is handling the probate of the estate. Hiring a lawyer to help you make this happen is in your best interests, the best interests of the estate, and the best interests of the beneficiary you mention. Often, attorneys' fees incurred in the administration of the estate can be paid for with estate funds.

All the best!

This posting is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. For more information, please visit www.justinelderlaw.com.

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Posted

Generally speaking, if your father had a valid Will that document will control how the estate is to be distributed. Although you may ask for Court approval, if the beneficiary opposes your motion, in all likelihood the Court will deny your motion. As the executor, you have a duty to follow the intent set forth in your father's will. Before doing anything, I would suggest you consult with a local attorney.

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Posted

Your intuition is good. However, you cannot unilaterally make this decision. Typically, if you are probating the will through the court, there would be a couple of methods to accomplish what you wish. If the drug addicted beneficiary realizes his issues, and all other beneficiaries agree, the Trust and Estates Dispute Resolutions Act in WA would allow you all to agree to this and ask the court to "bless" the agreement. If he does not agree, which is the more likely scenario, then it may be more difficult, and may involve the appointment of what's called a guardian ad litem and a longer process. In either scenario i strongly recommend using a qualified attorney to help you accomplish your worthy goa. Good Luck

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