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.