I am the executrix of my father's estate. The will has been probated, and cash distribution made to my brother and me, the two sole beneficiaries. There is not enough cash left in the estate to pay the executrix' fee, (the amount of which was reached using a standard formula) so both my brother and I are required to pay half the fee each out of our distribution. ( I am, in essence. paying myself). He, however, refuses to pay. What recourse do I have?
Thanks, James. We were using an estate attorney.
I assume you are not using an attorney. If you were, you would not have prematurely distributed the funds to your brother, in the first place. The time has come for you to consult with an attorney now. The attorney can send a demand letter to your brother and perhaps that will show him you are serious about this. If not, then you need to decide whether it is worth suing him over these funds. Keep in mind that everything you receive as a fee is taxable and anything received as an inheritance is not. It may not make financial sense for you to pursue this, at this point.
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Mr. Frederick's answer is well stated. Once an estate/trust gives out funds it is almost always a problem getting any funds returned.
Depending on how much you are due is one consideration. Is it worth it? Also, you should know that many people who act as Executor do not take a fee.
Talk with a local probate attorney and see if you want to just call it a day.
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You need to consult an attorney on what to do. If there was no family agreement in writing requiring payment, then absent court order no payment need be made. Of course, the cost of obtaining a court order compelling payment may be more than the payment in question. Indeed, even if there is an order requiring payment, it would only be a judgment if there are no estate assets left to deduct the payment from and of course a judgment is worth only what it is printed on.
Estate Planning Attorney
When the ill advised distribution was made to your brother was a Receipt and Refunding Bond executed? If so you may have recourse against your brother under the bond but as pointed out previously it may not be worth your while. You should sit down with a new estate attorney to review all of your options.
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