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  1. #1
    lkbb is offline Junior Member
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    Unhappy Transferring stock after death of parents

    INDIANA

    My father died in March of 2005 and all his assets tranferred, by will, to my mother. My mother went to an attorney and had a trust set up but the attorney did not transfer any assets into the trust - even after repeated reminder calls. Short story is that in August of 2005 she was admitted to the hospital and died in September 2005. All her assets were left to my three brothers and me via her will. One brother was named executor of the will and trustee of the trust. There are sizeable assets, mostly held in stock certificates.

    My three brothers and I met with the attorney after my mom died. He said that since the trust had been created, we were going to behave "as if there was a trust."

    The IRAs were already distributed since we were listed as named beneficiaries and did not pass through the attorney's hands. Is it not possible to do the same with the stocks? Why does the attorney need to get a percentage of the sizeable sum when, in essence, he did not carry out my mother's wishes in getting the stock transferred into the trust?

    It is entirely possible that the stocks had a Transfer-on-Death Registration and that the attorney did not tell us that. (He did not tell us that we could cash in the IRAs - when my brother went to pick them up, the woman there said she was told to send the annuity certificates to the attorney's office ... My brother said, "You don't need to do that!" But of course, the attorney was going to "take care of it" and charge his fee.) How do we find out if the stocks had that kind of registration? The attorney HAS the stocks since my mom gave them to him when he was SUPPOSED to set up the trust.

    This has already happened: The attorney has filed a probate petition with the Surrogate's Court requesting the issuance of letters testamentary. These letters enable the executor to transfer stock, bank accounts and other property into the name of the estate. The executor first pays funereal expenses, debts and taxes and then distributes in appropriate shares the estate to the persons named in the will.

    My parents had no debt. All funeral expenses have been paid. Is it now possible for my brother to find out the transfer agent for the stock and simply transfer it, in equal shares, to my brothers and me?

    Thank you for your help.

    Laura
  2. #2
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    St. Odo of Cluny Parish
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkbb
    INDIANA

    My father died in March of 2005 and all his assets tranferred, by will, to my mother. My mother went to an attorney and had a trust set up but the attorney did not transfer any assets into the trust - even after repeated reminder calls. Short story is that in August of 2005 she was admitted to the hospital and died in September 2005. All her assets were left to my three brothers and me via her will. One brother was named executor of the will and trustee of the trust. There are sizeable assets, mostly held in stock certificates.

    My three brothers and I met with the attorney after my mom died. He said that since the trust had been created, we were going to behave "as if there was a trust."

    The IRAs were already distributed since we were listed as named beneficiaries and did not pass through the attorney's hands. Is it not possible to do the same with the stocks? Why does the attorney need to get a percentage of the sizeable sum when, in essence, he did not carry out my mother's wishes in getting the stock transferred into the trust?

    It is entirely possible that the stocks had a Transfer-on-Death Registration and that the attorney did not tell us that. (He did not tell us that we could cash in the IRAs - when my brother went to pick them up, the woman there said she was told to send the annuity certificates to the attorney's office ... My brother said, "You don't need to do that!" But of course, the attorney was going to "take care of it" and charge his fee.) How do we find out if the stocks had that kind of registration? The attorney HAS the stocks since my mom gave them to him when he was SUPPOSED to set up the trust.

    This has already happened: The attorney has filed a probate petition with the Surrogate's Court requesting the issuance of letters testamentary. These letters enable the executor to transfer stock, bank accounts and other property into the name of the estate. The executor first pays funereal expenses, debts and taxes and then distributes in appropriate shares the estate to the persons named in the will.

    My parents had no debt. All funeral expenses have been paid. Is it now possible for my brother to find out the transfer agent for the stock and simply transfer it, in equal shares, to my brothers and me?

    Thank you for your help.

    Laura

    Excuse me but let's start from the beginning.

    Why haven't y'all fired this attorney?

    That's the first thing you need to do.
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  3. #3
    lkbb is offline Junior Member
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    I am not the executor

    I am not the executor - my brother is, and it's a small town, they are both visible business people and so he was reluctant to "fire" the attorney - I wasn't - but he was. (And he has gleefully let me be the fly in the oinment with the attorney - I'm fine doing that because I don't live there and wouldn't care anyway!!)

    But since the attorney was NOT fired, (and I agree that he should have been), I need to know if we can transfer the stocks on our own without the attorney benefiting. If that is the case, then there really isn't much left in the estate - a house, a few belongings, but the bulk of the value of the estate was in stocks. I have found who the transfer agent is for the stock (which is owned outright and is not part of a fund, 401k, etc.) - so can my brother, as executor of the will, simply have the stock transferred?
  4. #4
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkbb
    I am not the executor - my brother is, and it's a small town, they are both visible business people and so he was reluctant to "fire" the attorney - I wasn't - but he was. (And he has gleefully let me be the fly in the oinment with the attorney - I'm fine doing that because I don't live there and wouldn't care anyway!!)

    But since the attorney was NOT fired, (and I agree that he should have been), I need to know if we can transfer the stocks on our own without the attorney benefiting. If that is the case, then there really isn't much left in the estate - a house, a few belongings, but the bulk of the value of the estate was in stocks. I have found who the transfer agent is for the stock (which is owned outright and is not part of a fund, 401k, etc.) - so can my brother, as executor of the will, simply have the stock transferred?
    You need to ask whoever issued the stock how they are titled; that will give you a clue as to how they should be transferred.

    Your brother: I don't give a rip what people "think" about me and I SURE don't give a rip if it costs me MONEY?

    You need to send Uncle Vito over to 'splain things to your bro and to the lawyer.
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  5. #5
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    Who is the official TRUSTEE of the trust? The trustee should have been designated by the trust document--is it the attorney or is it someone else? In other words, the executor should not be handling this matter regarding the stocks--the trustee is the only one with official authority to do so. If need be, the trustee can contact the stock company to find out how the stock is exactly titled. Your brother as executor can ask about how the stocks are titled just for informational purposes, but he can't claim them as assets if there is a pour-over will.

    The trust is administered separately from the will. Did she leave a last will and testment or were all assets put into just the trust? What type of trust is it? You may want to get a second opinion from another attorney to have the trust examined (or you may want to do it yourself) to see if the language of the trust includes a "pour-over" will. If the pour-over will, it serves the purpose of retroactively or subsequently including in the trust any assets that had not been previously designated so.

    You also need to get a second opinion from an Indiana trust attorney about what the specific fees for trustees are--they might be mentioned in state law OR it might be confidential information shared and known only amongst fellow attorneys. You may want to post your query on another free legal advice website called [url]www.lawguru.com[/url], or talk to a local attorney in person.

    Is this attorney a probate attorney only or a trust attorney as well?
    Who decided to hire him? If there is no will that names him as such, then he is erring in putting potential trust assets into probate and someone should inform him of this, and after you find out what the legally allowable rate for trustee is you will be able to put him on notice that his fees will be double checked with the law and that any overcharges will need to be refunded so he needs to make sure his billings are correct. The main reason your mother put her assets into trust was to avoid excessive probate costs (trust will be less costly in total fees), so trust beneficiaries need to put him on notice that his goal should be to make sure the assets are put into the trust, NOT PROBATE, IF there is a pour-over will. And you need to decide now whether you need to get a signed agreement with his exact fee rate quoted so that he can't jack up the fees later on. IF he is the trustee he deserves to be paid at what the legally permissible rate is and not more than that.

    DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA (tiekh@yahoo.com)
  6. #6
    lkbb is offline Junior Member
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    Answers

    My brother is the executor of the will and the trustee of the trust - the attorney executed the will and the trust (well, at least he created the trust - didn't transfer anything into the trust).

    His practice consists of:
    15% Civil Litigation
    20% Estate Planning
    25% Probate & Estate Admininstration
    15% Real Estate Law
    5% Municipal Law
    5% Business Organizations
    10% Banking & Finance Law
    5% Mediation

    She left a last will and testament that stipulated that certain items were to be placed in trust.

    Let me look for my copy of the will.

    Thank you for your help so far!

    Laura

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