My father died in Dec. 2009. He had a homemade Will and a Homemade Trust that was never vested in any way. I was the personal rep. I settled the Probate in Dec 2010 in the midst of a lot of family conflict. Approx 1 yr after the settlement, one sister accused my of stealing from her even though she fully agreed to dividing the assets by 4 (with 3 heirs) and giving me an additional share to compensate me for all of my work ($6,000). I've kept every paper and email. When is it safe to get rid of all of it? When can they no longer challenge the settlement?
Your facts are incomplete. Did you make application to have the will probated and for you to become appointed the personal representative? If so, the time frames for a reopening were discussed in your Orders from the Court. If you did not, and the family agreed you could "handle things" then you were still acting as a fiduciary and that placed you in a special relationship to the beneficiaries to deal with them in good faith, fairly, not take advantage, etc. Whether or not paying yourself $6,000 for your "work" was fair cannot be determined. Did you keep track of your time? How much an hour were you to receive? Was all this written up and signed by the beneficiaries? It would be difficult to provide you with any specific statute when there are so many open questions. When in doubt....keep your documents forever, which allows you to show the court if an action is filed against you that the work you did was documented, you were not overpaid for the work you did, that you did not commit any type of fraud, etc. If you are really concerned you might hire a probate or estate lawyer to review your work.
I agree that more information is needed including an accurate time line. Yes, there are applicable statutes of limitations, and you should consult an Ariz. lawyer regarding the s/l 's for Ariz. If it were me, I would hold the paperwork for a long time just in case some questions arise later. Also I wonder about the $6,000 and whether you reported it as income [please do not post an answer to that in this public forum]. A tax lawyer can help you with that question if it is troublesome to you, and many probate lawyers are also conversant with taxes.
These comments do not constitute legal advice. They are general comments on the circumstances presented, and may not be applicable to your situation. For legal advice on which you may rely consult your own lawyer.
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