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Grounds for removal of executrix

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tahoe1

Junior Member
What is the name of your state? California.
:confused:My father died a month ago at the age of 87. At the time of his death and for the preceeding 20 years he had been living with his sister who is five years his junior. He named his sister as executrix of his living trust. As such, her behavior has been questionable.

First, she has attempted to pass herself off as my father's spouse on several occasions. They have (had) a joint checking account and there have been other instances of inappropriate and at times immoral behavior that have gone unchecked over the past 20 years.

My siblings and I have reason to believe that she may be witholding notification of his death from his former employer so his pension checks will continue to be deposited in the aforementioned joint checking account for her benefit. There was no death notice and my aunt, again, the executrix, refuses to release his ashes to his children and as of yesterday (08.25.05) had not notified his lawyer of his death. The funeral home did indeed contact the Social security Administration.

Based on this, would there be much difficulty in removing my aunt as executrix and if not, how would we go about it? Thanks
 
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Dandy Don

Senior Member
This may not be enough to get her removed. Did she benefit financially from posing as his spouse?

The question is is she still mentally competent? But she probably would not be willing to undergo a test for this even if you suggested it.

You can notify the pension company yourself about the death so that her activity can be stopped, and you can also notify the attorney yourself about this man's death.

Have you all received a copy of the trust? Has she given you all any indication of when you will be paid from the trust?

Is there a will being probated or were all of the assets put into the trust?

DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA ([email protected])
 

tahoe1

Junior Member
Grounds for removal of Executrix

Thanks for your reponse, Dandy Don. Because the Social Security Admin. has been notified she will not benefit by collecting his monthly check. However, the Soc. Sec. Death Benefit of $255 will be deposited in the joint account. As I do not know the source of his pension (the company he retired from has since been bought by another firm) the checks from whatever that source is will continue to go into the joint account until they are notified. And so, though her real name appears on the joint account, not only should she no longer be receiving his pension checks but I don't thinks she should have access to his assets...but what do I know?

You are right is assuming that my aunt would refuse to undergo any sort of competency test. On the othe hand, in my opinion she has been incompetent for quite some time.

My aunt did share a portion of the will with my sister and me...reluctantly. I have since asked for a full copy of the will and she refused to make one available to me. I asked her why she wouldn't do so and she said that "the lawyer, Mr. ______ told her not to. Two days later my sister asked for a copy and again was told no. My sister contacted the lawyer and he said he would be glad to make as many copies available to us as we'd like. Then he noticed my aunt's name as executrix and asked my sister if this woman were still alive. My sister allowed that she is and his response was a simple "Oh, okay." Clearly my aunt had not been touch with him and he had never told her to withold copies of the will from us.

My aunt has given us no indication of when we might expect closure of this matter. The assets were placed in trust and wil not gp to probate.
 

mkawahara

Junior Member
CA law requires that you receive notification of the trust within 60 days of the grantor's death (probate code 16061.7) and yes, there is a standard way that you must be notified. Since your sister has contacted the attorney who drafted the trust already, you may not have grounds for removal based on lack of notification. Check with an attorney.

If you want to remove a trustee it's a tough process. That would require a petition to the probate court and it does require an attorney. You would need to have real and compelling evidence of failure to perform duties (like failure to distiribute in a reasonable time or notify beneficiaries) or commiting fraudulent acts or a history of acting in a way not in the interest of the trust. That's not likely to be there in the month since your father's passing.

Your best bet is to contact an attorney who is very strong in probate matters such as trust admin. Use LegalMatch.com or an attorney referral service.

Do some homework. You are entitled to receive a certified death certificate from the county recorder where your father lived. Get a few of them. You'll need them. Next, if you have the trust document bring that to the attorney at your first consultation - the attorney will review it for you so that you will know how you and your family stand. Also any background information on the living arrangement that your aunt and father had may also be helpful so the attorney knows what he/she is getting into. Any information on your father's property (county records for any real estate he owned, for example) will also help the attorney help you.

Last, be patient and keep your head. In your situation, you may encounter some blowback from your extended family. People tend to act purely emotionally in this kind of thing. You may see some foot-dragging and possibly some really bad behavior. I've seen quite a bit of it in my situation (it's similar to yours) and this has been going on for a year and a half. Because I am standing up for my rights, I've had family members invite me into their homes in order to throw me out while calling me a villian. So far, I've had to suck it in and take the punches. I pray this will not happen to you.

It's not easy to stand up for your rights but stick together and watch each other's back. That will make this brutal process more bearable.

And get that lawyer. Now.




tahoe1 said:
Thanks for your reponse, Dandy Don. Because the Social Security Admin. has been notified she will not benefit by collecting his monthly check. However, the Soc. Sec. Death Benefit of $255 will be deposited in the joint account. As I do not know the source of his pension (the company he retired from has since been bought by another firm) the checks from whatever that source is will continue to go into the joint account until they are notified. And so, though her real name appears on the joint account, not only should she no longer be receiving his pension checks but I don't thinks she should have access to his assets...but what do I know?

You are right is assuming that my aunt would refuse to undergo any sort of competency test. On the othe hand, in my opinion she has been incompetent for quite some time.

My aunt did share a portion of the will with my sister and me...reluctantly. I have since asked for a full copy of the will and she refused to make one available to me. I asked her why she wouldn't do so and she said that "the lawyer, Mr. ______ told her not to. Two days later my sister asked for a copy and again was told no. My sister contacted the lawyer and he said he would be glad to make as many copies available to us as we'd like. Then he noticed my aunt's name as executrix and asked my sister if this woman were still alive. My sister allowed that she is and his response was a simple "Oh, okay." Clearly my aunt had not been touch with him and he had never told her to withold copies of the will from us.

My aunt has given us no indication of when we might expect closure of this matter. The assets were placed in trust and wil not gp to probate.
 

Dandy Don

Senior Member
Get a trust attorney now and have him write a certified letter on your behalf to send to the trustee to request a copy of the trust and an accounting statement. Then you will find out if you are a beneficiary in the trust or not.

At some point she will have to file the will for probate (if there are assets in it), or you can force the issue by asking the probate court judge to ask her to produce it for probate. If her behavior continues to be odd then this can be brought up in court and you can still possibly have her removed but you need an attorney's counsel to do it.

DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA ([email protected])
 

tahoe1

Junior Member
Grounds for removal of Executrix

I had dinner with my sister tonight (Saturday) she told me that she had heard from the company that is responsible for paying my father's pension. To our surprise my aunt had evidentally contacted them to notify them of my father's death. In the letter which was addressed to my aunt and copied to my sister it was explained that when he retired, my father had elected to receive his entire pension over a period of ten years in the form of 120 monthly payments. He retired in 1981, hence, he has not received any payments since 1991. Unfortunately, my father was an extremely private man who chose not to reveal any of his personal financial matters to anyone except my late mother and then, my aunt.

This puts an end to any concern over the disposition of his pension. Further, my sister expects to receive a copy of the trust on Monday or Tuesday of this coming week and will make copies of it for me and my brother. At that time we will deal with any points that require attention.

Bob
[email protected]
 

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