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Should executor provide us with information pertaining to our minor heirs (trust/acct) info? Where it is and the amount?: Executor states everything finished. Children received will and communication 2 years ago, but nothing since. It seems as if we would be entiltled to this information prior to them turning 30, which is when they can access. They are both young minors now. How is the executor held accountable. Do they not have to inform anyone of their actions regarding the estate?

Asked almost 3 years ago in Probate

Richard’s answer: Good questions. The answer is that while your children are minors, their rights are protected and exercised by their natural guardian, which are normally the minor's parents. The rights that your minor children have is determined by a combination of the legal document creating the children's trusts, which could be either a Will or a Trust, and applicable state law. Therefore, in order to determine what rights your minor children have, you need to consult with a competent attorney to review the relevant legal documents and facts in your case. After this is done, the information as to the childrens' trust shares can be obtained and it can be determined if all is going well or, alternatively, problems may need to be fixed or if a dispute will arise from a non-cooperative, negligent or dishonest Trustee.
Good luck.

Answered almost 3 years ago.


MY PROBATE ESTATE CLAIM AGAINST MY EX-FIANCE WAS DISALLOWED. NOW WHAT?: I loaned my ex-fiancé approximate $72,000.00 over the course of eight years. He died intestate and his only son is the personal representative of the estate. I submitted my claim in writing (I submitted a bunch of canceled checks with "loan" written on memo line). His son denied my claim. Now what do I do? I want my money back. Isn't writing "loan" proof enough so I can get reimbursed??? The son told me it wasn't sufficient proof and I got a formal denial.

Asked about 3 years ago in Probate

Richard’s answer: Since your creditor claim against the estate has been denied, our recourse is to enforce the loan against the Estate. I believe any lawsuit would need to wait until after the 6 month period the Executor has to deal with the Estate has ended, but you likely would want to give the Executor notice of the suit you plan to file along with the notice of personal liability if insufficient Estate funds remain in the Estate to pay the claim and other same or lower priority claims are paid out or any amounts are paid to any beneficiaries. Now, as to the ability to win in court as to your claim, that is another question. You will need to be able to prove that the amounts provided were, in fact, loans and considered as such by the parties. Good luck.

Answered about 3 years ago.


Should I backtrack over the details with a lawyer?: My father and step mother were involved in a tragic tornado a few years ago, ultimately killing them both. My father was pronounced DOA and my step mother taken to the hospital unresponsive due to a severe head trauma. She was immeadiately taken to surgery and placed on life support afterward while tests concluded that she had zero brain activity. She had no children (aside from my brother and I - stepchildren), so her father and brother made the decision to put her on life support. We were unable to find a will, so proceeded with the intestate process. Basically, I was told that everything they had became divided by 3 (step mom, brother, myself) even though she was being kept on life support without sufficient evidence of any recovery. Process continues, I make final arrangements for my father and start to work on organizing things. 5 days after the accident (and 2 days after the funeral) they took her off life support. I was then told that my father had multiple insurance policies that had her as primary beneficiary and myself as secondary but she inherited that because she outlived him. Also that everything he owned that would have been 1/3 hers became theirs, as well as the property and house because it was under a joint survivorship deed. Needless to say, I wound up paying off my father's bills and last expenses while my "step uncle" inherited a lot of money and property because he kept her on life support. And refused to bury her body with my father's. Should I go back and revisit this matter or did we really just get shafted by intestate laws being stretched and abused?

Asked about 3 years ago in Probate

Richard’s answer: I am sorry for your loss and the resulting post death issues that only made it worse. However, you state that the intestate laws may have been abused and i wanted to clarify how the law works. I do not see any abuse if, in fact, the law has been followed. First and foremost, everyone in this country has a "right" to decide how their property will pass at their death, with only limited exceptions based on the laws of the state where the you (deceased) lived. In GA, an individual has full right to decide where his or her assets will pass at death except for the rights of a spouse and minor children to a "Year's Support" from the probate estate. Second, you need to understand "how" assets pass at death. Assets pass in the following ways: (i) by beneficiary designation for assets such as life insurance and annuities, retirement accounts, such as IRA and Qualified Plan accounts, and for bank accounts via "POD" (paid on death designation) or on stock certificates via "TOD" (transfer on death designations); (ii) assets owned jointly as joint tenants with rights of survivorship will automatically pass to the surviving owner at a joint owner's death (which is the way joint bank and brokerage accounts often pass); (iii) any assets owned in trust before a person's death will pass in accordance with the trust's terms, and (iv) all other assets pass into the deceased individual's Estate. The assets in the Estate pass in accordance with a Will. The valid Will of a deceased individual controls, but if none exists, as in your relative's case, then the laws of the decedent's state of residence (domicile) provides a state law Will. The state law Will provides for an Administrator to be appointed, figure out what assets are owned and creditors are owed, then pay off creditors, deal with administrative functions like tax issues , and then distribute to the decedent's heirs. The heirs are determined under the state law "rules of intestacy." So, in your case, with no Will, the state law Will would provide for who is to benefit and to what extent. Now, let's go back to your parents' situation. They had the freedom to choose to plan for their demise or not, to make beneficiary designations or not, to own their property jointly or not, etc. Their asset ownership and beneficiary designation choices control. It is not an abuse of the law to follow their choices, these are the choices they made, right, wrong or indifferent, and whether you benefit from their choices. The assets are theirs to do with as they please, to actively make choices or to let state law control. The question then is not about abusing the law, it is what it is and your parents actively or by ignoring the issue made a choice on the rules to be followed on how their assets were to pass. So, the real questions are what assets they owned, how they owned them, if any beneficiary designations were on the assets or accounts, and what debts they owed. With that info known, it can be determined what assets pass to where. The Court appointed Administrator's job is simply to carry out the terms of the state law Will (in this case where your parents' failed to properly create their own Wills). As for the assets passing to a joint owner by right of survivorship or that pass via beneficiary designation, those assets pass out side of the Estate Administration process to the joint surviving owner or beneficiary. As for timing of death having an effect in your parent's cases, this matters since you are a step child (presumably a child of one of the parents). You are not an heir to a step-parent but you would be an heir to an actual parent (via birth or adoption). In your parents' case, it seems pretty clear as to who survived longer, even if it had only been by a few moments. As a result, this analysis will need to determine what happened at the first death as to the assets and a second determination will need to determine what happened at the second death. I hope this was helpful.

Answered about 3 years ago.