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Must all heirs agree on expenses/maintenance of a home when they are clearly documented in order to distribute the proceeds?

Coram, NY |

My mother died in 2010. She left her estate to her children and grandchildren. We finally closed on her house in November 2012. My sister is the executrix and sent letters to every heir detailing the estate expenses incurred since my mother died and what each heir would receive now that everything is settled and paid. She requested a signed copy to show agreement in her calculations before she writes the checks to each of us. Three heirs have yet to respond. My sister refuses to distribute our inheritance until all are in agreement. Is that necessary and is this legal? It has been over 2 1/2 years since my mother died.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. I always suggest getting consents from everybody. If not you put yourself at risk of future lawsuite. The secondary option is filing a motion in court to close the estate and distribute, and have the court approve the expenses. Any interested party can file those motions in Michigan. Find a lawyer in your state, and he should be able to force the estate closed and make the distributions if it is just a dispute over expenses.


  2. It is customary for the executor to ask for waivers of accounting before distributing and closing the estate. If waivers are not returned, she will have to file a judicial accounting. A formal judicial accounting will add to the estate's expenses and reduce the amount available for distribution. If the beneficiaries decide to contest the judicial accounting that will be even more expensive for everybody. You pay your money and take your choice.

    Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to Avvo questions are for general information purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice.


  3. I agree with my colleagues. This is not only legal, but it is quite common. The executrix is entitled to use the funds of the estate to pay her lawyer and to defend against any contests. If there is not a waiver and consent filed, it is possible that the executrix would distribute the money, only to find herself facing such a contest, without any money to defend it. She is not required to place herself in that situation.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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