Author Topic: Executor of your estate? Not happening.  (Read 5736 times)

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ILoveMyCello

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Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« on: March 13, 2012, 06:46:40 PM »
My mother (age 56) has stage IV breast cancer. For the time being, she is doing quite well. However, when the time comes, she wants to make sure she has her affairs straight. Smart move. She has asked me (age 26) to be healthcare power of attorney and co-executor of her estate with my uncle. She has also asked me to be my brother's (age 21) financial guardian. Nothing is wrong with my brother-she just enables him. She says he needs extra attention because of his A.D.H.D. I call it L.A.Z.Y but whatever. Anyway, I told her I had no problem with the healthcare POA, but no way would I be the other two roles. She cried and threw a fit. I ended up dropping the issue. How should I bring this up again without drama?

JoieGirl7

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 07:02:11 PM »
If you can, get her to see a lawyer.

One of the first steps you want to do when making a will is choosing the right executor.
 
Even if she names you as executor, that doesn't mean you have to serve.  Even if you agreed right now to be a co-executor with your uncle, you still wouldn't be obligated to serve.  You could leave the duties to your uncle.  And if he didn't want to serve someone would likely be appointed and they would be paid.

Right now, she is just trying to get things together in her head.  It's part of contemplating end of life stuff.
 
So, I wouldn't bring it up.  If she brings it up, ask her to explain to you why she wants you to be an executor.  Don't say yes or no.  Just leave it be.
 
As to your brother, I don't know how someone would be an adult's financial guardian.  She can leave money to him that he doesn't get until a certain age or make you the decision maker as to whether or not he gets it and to direct what happens to it if not.
 
Again, if you don't want to do any of these things, she cannot force you to, even if you are named in the will, even if you agree to it in advance.
 
I think a better use of energy would be talking about the Healthcare POA.  To her, that should be much more important but she likely doesn't want to think about that even more.
 
There are so many different scenarios and that's something that is really so much more important that will affect her so much.

 
 


buvezdevin

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 07:19:31 PM »
Agreeing with AQ about encouraging your mother to speak with an attorney.

You may suggest to her that regardless of what you are willing to do, it will need to be addressed appropriately for legalities.  Then, she may find that what she is asking you to do re your brother is not even a workable option, or if it is workable, you will both be able to evaluate what she wants, and how to best meet her want - I.e. if she wants to set up a trust for your brother, that may be done without requiring your involvement at all.

Hugs to both of you, and I hope she continues to do well.
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Minmom3

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2012, 12:29:48 AM »
Also, talking to a real life professional Probate Attorney can ensure that whole pages of her will are not useless...  My grandmother failed to set things up properly, and mid-sized gobs of money went to places she had NO intention of them going.  She used the wrong kind of attorney, and he messed up most of her will, didn't warn her of how bank accounts would need to be set up to have them go where she wanted them after she died, AND then he insisted on being paid.

If it's that important to her, she needs to set things up properly, and an attorney that specializes in that kind of business can make ALL the difference in the world!

And I'm not being sarcastic here, I'm dead serious.  Mom and I spent years trying to get the attorney off his duff and doing things, and he wouldn't.  And he wouldn't hand it all over to a real probate attorney until after Mom paid him thousands of dollars, in spite of of his ineptitude and mishandling of all of her affairs.  It was highly frustrating and took about 5 years!  >:(
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Twik

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2012, 05:27:46 PM »
I have a sad feeling that "financial guardian" means "you will bail your brother out for the rest of his life".
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Knitterly

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2012, 06:43:13 PM »
My husband and I are writing up our wills.

One of the things that is clearly spelled out in our will kit is that the executor should be someone who will be able to maintain a certain amount of emotional distance during the proceedings.

You can very easily back out of it by explaining to your mother that her death will have a severe emotional impact on you and that will make you unfit to be the executor.  Recommend someone with a bit more emotional distance.

Calypso

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2012, 09:41:00 PM »
I'm not the only person on eHell who saw the dynamic between siblings become horrible after the terms of deceased parent's estate were put into practice. I know what my Dad's intentions were----we four were supposed to work together in a business partnership ( ::) :-\ )-----and not one of his desires has been fulfilled. Instead, there's great dissension, the irresponsible one is more irresponsible than ever, the bitter one is more bitter, and I am detached from a sister I once felt close to....

I think you can honestly say to your mother that it wouldn't be good for your relationship with your brother to be put in this position. Hopefully, the two of you have decades to be each other's brother and sister. That could really be endangered if she creates you into a position of power over him through her will.

Of course she is worried about him, but an attorney can write any terms into a trust that she wants, and serve as a trustee (or appoint one) who can carry out her wishes without emotional wreckage.

Good luck, and blessings to your Mom.

kareng57

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2012, 09:54:03 PM »
It's possible to designate an outside-source, such as a trust-company, to be the executor.

Naturally there will be a fee, but a good attorney might even agree that this is the best bet.  You are very young, OP - and please understand that this is not an implication that you are incapable.  But having been through it myself recently - it requires a great deal of time.  It required me taking a lot of time off work, other than the standard bereavement leave time.  I don't know whether you are a student, but at your age that's possible and that could make it doubly difficult.

Is there a reason why it would be objectionable to have your uncle as the sole executor?  If nothing else - I agree with PPs that your mother needs to consult a good wills-and-estates lawyer.  You and your uncle must make sure that you are not left with any responsibility for your brother's debts.

Venus193

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2012, 10:29:28 PM »
I absolutely recommend that you read Beyond the Grave by Gerald M. Condon.  It echoes some of the previous advice mentioned in this thread and recommends that you get a good estate planning attorney who is likely to recommend appointment of a neutral third party.

It is a seriously bad idea for a relative to be appointed a financial guardian.  There is endless potential to damage the relationship beyond repair.  If your mother enables your brother to escape responsibility and expects you to continue doing that you'd not only be doing him no good you'd have to support him for the rest of his life.

kareng57

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2012, 10:51:13 PM »
I absolutely recommend that you read Beyond the Grave by Gerald M. Condon.  It echoes some of the previous advice mentioned in this thread and recommends that you get a good estate planning attorney who is likely to recommend appointment of a neutral third party.

It is a seriously bad idea for a relative to be appointed a financial guardian.  There is endless potential to damage the relationship beyond repair.  If your mother enables your brother to escape responsibility and expects you to continue doing that you'd not only be doing him no good you'd have to support him for the rest of his life.


Re "financial guardian" - IME it's meant to designate someone in charge of financial provisions for a mentally-disabled or incompetent adult.  One example - for parents who have been caring for a developmentally-disabled adult child and need to make sure that his/her needs are still being met upon their deaths.  For a mentally competent adult child who is just plain irresponsible - not.

Still, all the more reason for a good lawyer.  A good friend of mine was the executor of her mom's estate when she was only about 25.  She managed, but one of the stumbling-blocks was that her mom had left only a token amount to Friend's spendthrift half-brother. (The whole estate was awfully small, no matter what). Her mom was pretty explicit in the will (good for her! she was a feisty but realistic old lady, when I knew her) - and the language was something along the lines of "and this is all he will be getting.  I have been exceedingly generous in the past, and any more that I give will just be squandered".  Her brother was about 15 years older than her and fought it, but she did prevail.  She shouldn't have had to go through this as young as she was but of course even the best lawyer can't prevent even a frivolous will-fight if someone else is determined.  Her brother was always a sucker for the latest get-rich-quick scheme whether it was MLM, offshore-investments - you name it.

Sister and Brother did eventually make-up, after a fashion.  However, he began a tradition of spending most of the summers with them (he lived in a different city), not contributing a dime or lifting a finger, and staying until her husband started threatening divorce...Some folks just never seem to "get it".

Venus193

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2012, 11:02:41 PM »
That's exactly the type of situation the author of this book wants his readers to prevent. 

There is also lots of advice about joint inheritances like property or family businesses, codicils, charitable bequests, and disinheriting one's children.

jayhawk

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Re: Executor of your estate? Not happening.
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2012, 01:08:15 PM »
I work in a ba k trust delartment (U.S). We tell families to name us as trustee or executor so we can be the "bad guy" who may have to make the ubpopular decisions.  It's not fair to put that burden on a family member. I will also add, that ic brother is receiving any type of governmet assistance, to talk to an estate planning attorney about a special needs trust to preserve the assets and not endanger his benefits.