04-26-2006, 05:47 PM #1
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- Apr 2006
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Settlement of Estate being held up by bogus inventory exceptions
My Father passed away Sept. 2004. I was listed to be executrix of estate per his will. I, one of two daughters, mother or spouse, and son-in-law were all addressed as recipients of estate property. The estate had enough debt that my mother had to choose to go against the will, claiming spousal rights allowed by law for debt relief. She did this to avoid having to sell the property my father had addressed in his will to all parties involved. the reason of going against the will was specified to all listed recipients, estate attorney and probate judge at inventory hearing. None of the recipients contested her actions due to her publicly announcing her intentions to continue with the property distribution, going against will for debt relief only. Estate was settled and finalized in probate court in May 2005. All property was distributed or parties notified to pick up their willed property. My mothers health was failing through out this estate process, I along with being the executrix became the 24/7 care giver for my mother. My mother made a new will in March 2005 addressing the changes needed due to my father proceeding her in death, eliminating him from her will, but making no changes to will except addressing 2 items of property left in my father's will to the other daughter that she had not yet removed from their residence, her choice, as of new will date. This was basically an act to ensure that party did get there property willed by my father if something should happen to my mother before before property was picked up. She also set up a family meeting to discuss her private residence and how it would best be handled for estate debt and equity line out standing on that property. It was decided and agreed between mother and two daughters, that this property be life estated ahead to avoid the hold up of selling property by being tied up in probate. Thus this property could be free to sell immediately clearing equity payoff and allowing money for final estate debt relief. Estate attorney for my father is the same attorney my mother had redo her will.
Now the situation gets muddy. My mother passed away in July 2005. She appointed me as her executrix. The same attorney representing my father's estate, that did my mothers will and deed work is the estate attorney for her estate. Everything proceeded
fairly normal, attorney meeting with the two daughters, discussed plan for estate process, read the will, appointed executrix and discussed getting the appraisals done on will, on gifted property and discussed the sale of the private residence (life estated to daughters jointly as mentioned previously) . Both parties present with estate attorney, agreed to release personal items and housed hold property in agreement of selling residential property as mother had preplanned. Both daughters agreed on a Realtor, appraisal was done and also went ahead with the personal property distribution as will specified and 50/50 on remainder of house contents with unwanted house hold to be sold. My sister removed her will stated property, more than 50% of remaining property then hired an attorney and contested the sale of the life estated residential property claiming none of her share is obligated to go toward estate debt relief. She has also filed several exceptions to estate inventory claiming that all the property willed and distributed to the son-in-law, in my fathers estate that was closed prior to mothers death, is now part of mothers estate and she is entitled to 50% and wants to sell that for mothers estate debt settlement. She is only filing exceptions to the property distributed to him from fathers will. Son-in-law was not a party listed as a recipient of mothers will. Therefore this daughter is trying to block fathers willed property ownership to son-in-law, by saying fathers property became mothers and mother did not address him in her will. She is not acknowledging my mother distributing property. The executrix witnessed the distribution of fathers estate, as did the estate attorney, and the statement of distribution to probate judge on record in fathers estate probate court hearing. But it does not seem to matter what is known fact, it is still being held up in court proceedings. The non sale of the primary residence, as agreed to by the contesting daughter, is on hold because I as estate executrix have to stand firm on what my mother set up for her estate debt relief and the fact that this is the main source of funding for debts other than property my sister already removed from house and is refusing to present an inventory listing on removed items as requested by estate attorney.
I want to know: 1) Does not the executrix's awareness of fathers estate and how things were addressed,the estate attorney's legal representation of fathers estate and also being mothers representative in setting up her will, legal affairs in life and now representative of her estate in death, the will and instructions given by mother to executrix and her attorney not have any legal respect?
2) Who is responsible for all this legal expense for invalid claims against the estate
3) Are not all parties listed as will beneficiary equally responsible for the estate debt
4) Can someone claim rights, to property not addressed to them by will, from a closed estate by trying to incorporate it back into a different open estate(when that party never contested the first will and signed agreement to inventory in that first estate)
5) Can a party lie and mislead the estate attorney and executrix by agreeing to set terms in order to manipulate property distribution favorably to themselves, then renege on their agreement with out recourse being available to executrix and estate?