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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Unhappy Executor rights and responsibilities

    What is the name of your state? Minnesota

    I understand that an executor has an obligation not to "sit on things", but is there such a thing as moving too fast? My older siblings are co-executors of our mother's estate and are pushing to have everything closed up way too fast for myself and youngest sibling. They have lived out of state for 40 years now and don't want to deal with anything back here - they just want the money and they want it now. (no financial need here - they live in million dollar homes). We younger two were told right away that we were responsible for clearing out mom's house because we live 60 and 35 miles away and we're much closer. But they want it done immediately. We have begged for a longer timeline as we have jobs and families that we also must care for (they're much older than us, being from a first marriage, and are nearly ready to retire) but to no avail. As the brother stated "I can listen to what you have to say, but ultimately it's what I want that happens."

    I have spent all but 2 weekends since 2005 began at mom's because of the amount of work to do in such a short time. I have put 2500 miles on my vehicle, without a dime of reimbursement. My relationship with my partner is destroyed, my child's life has been put on hold, and my job is in jeopardy because of the expectations placed on me. They call once or twice a week to hound us about getting the house emptied. The youngest sister is in the same situation, sans children. All this time they sit back and enojy life, go to movies and plays, out to eat, take cruises and vacations to exotic locations, get paid $100 per hour for whatever they do concerning the estate, the few times they do come to mom's they take whatever they want regardless of whether one of us has expressed a desire in the item (and of course it is only the items that have any monetary value), pass "secret" checks back and forth to each other from the estate account that will have things like "closed meeting" written in the memo spot...they haven't even let us two see the will. Now things are getting uglier and they are calling us incompetent because we can't work faster, and barbs about the fact that mom's marriage to our dad wasn't good and ended in divorce. There are many other nasty things happening - these just touch a few of the highlights.

    I guess my questions boil down to - doesn't an executor have a responsibility to treat everyone fairly? Is it really their right to lord over those that aren't executors in this manner? Do my younger sister and I have a right to know what all they have been paid for? I am so hurt, confused, and exhausted.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    1) Go to the courthouse in the county in which probate was filed and copy everything in the probate file.

    2) Scrutinize it, particularly the invenotry.

    3) Get yourself an attorney and take the file and anything else you have. (If those were "secret checks," how do you know about them?)

    4) Tell the executors to go to ****. It is not your job to clear out the house and the executors can't order you to do anything. Tell the executors to do it themselves or hire someone to do it.

    5) Total up your hours and expenses and present a claim against the estate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Thanks for taking the time to read and reply to my post. A couple more questions now arise.

    1) Will the actual will be available in the probate file,or just a listing of all assets stated in it? While mom was living she did have us all read her will, including updates she made to it - but I believe updates were done since the last time I read it since she had to sell some items to help fund her retirement and medical bills.

    I feel pretty confident about what her assets listed in the will really are. Mom, the younger sister, and I were very close. The reason the two of us remained nearby is because I wanted to be near her, especially after our own dad died 25 years ago. Note that we are children of 2 different marriages. The younger sister has taken care of mom the last 15 years on a daily basis, even taking leave from work the last 2 months of mom's life, so that mom could remain in her own home until the end.

    2) If I get a lawyer does that come out of my pocket or is it something that the estate gets billed for?

    The reason we know about the checks is because the younger sister happened to walk up on them when passing the check. How many other times this may have happened and it wasn't seen, or was done through the mail, is anybody's guess. We know they are meeting and making decisions as they come back and say "we've decided..."

    3) If the older two, or someone else clears out the house, do we younger ones still have any say in what happens to the items? Mom didn't have any household items of great value, but considering her home remained "our home", there is great sentimental value there. And, we would like to see mom's things handled respectfully. The two older ones live a lifestyle far beyond our modest upbringing, and as far as they're concerned, most of her things are just junk. (except for some of the things we've uncovered that they had no clue were there. Of course THEN they jump on it.)

    4) Can they impose a timeline for having the house emptied that is of their own choice, not because of anything said in the will, without input from us two younger ones? Both of us have landed under the care of psychologists since mom's death because of the great stress that is going on, not only with her death itself but with the demands put on us to get through this so quickly. At the young ages we're at, and the closeness that we had with mom, it is particularly traumatic. I know emotions and family dynamics become subjective and really muddy up these things. But all my sister and I are asking for is a bit more time. It hasn't even been 6 months yet, but the older two want everything with the house wrapped up by the end of this month so they can get the house on the market. It will be physically impossible unless we take the rest of the month off work, which we cannot do.

    5) Do we also figure up a monetary value for our time, or is that something that would be decided by a lawyer? What about gas and milage?

    Really, this whole thing is just about asking for more time to deal with the household items at this point. I have no doubt we are going to be in for more unpleasant surprises though. And hearing a thank-you for what we've done instead of being treated so harshly would be nice, too. For us two, it is not about the money.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I don't think that you have it clear in your mind what it is that you want. And if I extrapolate from what you write, what you really want is for your executor siblings to be nice and say thank you.

    I don't know what it takes to make people "be nice" and say "thank you" when they don't want to. I do know how to poke a stick in someone's eye to get their attention. You are setting your self up to be squished like an armadillo sunning itself in the right-hand lane of an interstate. If what you want to be is a "pleaser," then that is what will happen.

    My previous advice stands: 1) it isn't your responsibility to clean out the house; tell the executors to take a hike, and 2) get copies of documents from the probate file and start interviewing attorneys.

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