allocated out to me, which is not a condition of the will . I have concerns because a total of 4 siblings are to divide this money equally, but as far as I know non of us know a total amount. The taxes have not been done for this year and 1 sibling is in control of her estate but thinks he should recieve more for doing all the work. my concern is can he legally keep my portion from me because he is the benificery and has the control of the money in the bank.also there is no probate , the money was cleared perhaps up to a year ago, I am not recieving interest because the money is being held by my brother
Estate Planning Attorney
My condolences on your mom's passing. Your question raises several issues. First, you are entitled to see a copy of the will. The will should be filed within 30-40 days of your mom's death. Second, there may be several assets that pass outside of the will. The probate process should account for those. You are entitled to see that accounting, which unfortunately has a longer time period for production. The representative of the estate cannot just pocket funds that belong to someone else. Doesn't stop some from doing it, but you do have legal rights and recourse. There are several probate attorneys in the Seattle area who can help you make sure your rights are being upheld in this process. Your brother cannot just start paying out funds. Creditors have priority over her estate and there is a timeline that needs to be kept open for their rights. It is possible that your brother is not doing anything wrong. Still, you deserve to be included in the process so you know what is going on and why.
Your sib in control is playing the role of what I call "Probate Godzilla." In my opinion, your remedy is to give that sib written notice that unless he or she files the Will with the Court & petitions to have the Will admitted to probate & a Personal Represenative appointed for the estate, you'll petition the Court on the basis that your mother died without a Will & ask the Court to appoint you as the PR.
Good luck! Probate Godzillas want to stay in control & not have any interference, for example, not only by others by also by state law.
Richard Wills, WSBA 19720
Estate Planning Attorney
The advice above is all good but I wanted to give you a little bit more information about timeline that might be helpful to you.
(1) In Washington the Personal Representative has 40 days to present the will to the court.
(2) The PR has three months from the time probate is opened to make an inventory of all the assets. That inventory must be given to all beneficiaries or heirs who request it within 10 days.
(3) It is common that a PR will NOT give all the assets for at least four months after the probate is opened because they need to keep assets to pay creditors and taxes.
(4) If the assets haven't been distributed within 12 months, the PR needs to report to all the beneficiaries about the status of the probate and why the assets haven't been distributed.
(5) The PR is entitled to be paid a reasonable hourly rate for the work that he or she does on the estate so they likely will receive more than the others but the rate and time must be reasonable and must be reported to the court before the probate is closed. If you disagree with the amount then, you can contest it with the court.
Hope that helps.