The youngest daughter is threatening to sue my sister because she feels my older sister took what was hers from our mothers estate.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
Probate litigation happens regularly after someone has died. There are times when an executor can be named personally. Representation is recommended for anyone who intends to file or defend a lawsuit.
Mediation is a non-litigation methods of resolving such disputes more peacefully and often more affordable, which your family may which to consider.
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Yes. They can be sued. However, the executor will only lose if they have breached a fiduciary duty. If indeed the sister took property that was required under the Will to be distributed to someone else, that would be a breach.
If the executor sold the property to pay for the estate's debts or expenses, then that would not be a breach and your sister would prevail. Your sister could also use the estate to pay for her defense if she wins.
Have an attorney on your side and ready to protect your sister. So find one nearby, tell them your story, and go to them immediately if you are sued. Until you are actually sued, proceed as usual, and make sure your sister has all her records organized and ready.
Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC
Estate Planning Attorney
If your question is whether someone can sue someone - yeah, anyone can bring a lawsuit. If you want a response that addresses your particular situation more based on the facts of the situation, you need to give us more information.
A POA has no power once the principle dies, so if it's a claim against the POA it would have to be for misdeeds while the POA was acting prior to your mother's death.
If there is an issue as to conduct as an executor, technically there is no executor until a probate is commenced and the executor is appointment by the court in which case a court can review the transfer of assets and payment for an improper uses of funds or property.
If no probate was commenced you may be allowing the person who is named in the will as executor to run things, but it is an informal arrangement not sanctioned by the court. There would still be a fiduciary duty to administer things fairly that might be subject to a lawsuit if the fiduciary duty were violated.
The only problem really may be bad communication and distrust that a sit down with the family and disclosure of records would cure. So have a family meeting and try to straighten things out before you get into an unnecessary court proceeding and spend a lot of money on attorney fees.
The comments by this author to questions posted on Avvo are designed to foster a general understanding of what might be the law governing the area of the legal problem stated and suggest what might be the approach to finding a legal solution. Under no circumstances is this author acting as the attorney for the party who posted the question or as the attorney for subsequent readers to the question or response and no attorney client relationship is being formed. This attorney's comments are not intended to be a substitute for getting legal advice from a licensed attorney. A reader of this author's comments should never act on the information provided in these comments as though these comments were legal advice and should always seek legal advice in a personal consultation with an attorney in their jurisdiction before taking action. The information provided here is not intended to cover every situation with similar facts. Please remember that the law varies between states and other countries and is always changing through actions of the courts and the Legislature.
Anyone can sue anyone else for any reason. All they have to do is file some paperwork at the courthouse to start a lawsuit. The question then becomes, can they prevail on their claim? Potential litigation cost deters many urges to file the paperwork.
A family member can vent with expressions of anger because of their disappointment as to inheritance expectations. In such cases, family talks can be very productive. However, if your older sister believes your younger sister is making a serious threat of litigation, your older sister needs to contact a probate litigation attorney now for guidance in a more private setting.