Renunciation of Administration & Waiver of Process

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Latest post 03-06-2006 4:58 PM by Dede1. 10 replies.
  • 03-02-2006 8:13 PM

    • Dede1
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    • Joined on 03-02-2006
    • Posts 9

    Question [=?] Renunciation of Administration & Waiver of Process

    I received a letter from an attorney that requested that I sign a Renunciation of Letters of Administration and Waiver of Process in reference to the probate of my father's estate. I am confused why I received this request because my father had a will which supposedly left the entire estate to my older brother. I have not seen the will. Either have I seen my father for almost forty years, so I was not expecting to have to become involved in the settlement of his estate. My brother has decided to assign two half-siblings as adminstrators and wants me, my other brother, and himself to sign the Renunciation and Waiver document. I have been told by my brother that he intends to transfer the entire estate to the two half-siblings, whether my other brother and I agree to that or not. My brother has not provided many details about the estate, including its value. He merely states that it is a small estate. That might be true, but it also might not be true. My brother is providing inconsistent answers to questions, especially in his mathematical calculations. Nothing adds up. I have an uneasy feeling that he is attempting to avoid his own creditors. Why else would someone voluntarily disclaim an inheritance that includes cash and a life insurance policy? I have a concern about the effect of my being unduly influenced to disclaim my portion of the estate, if I am entitled at all, would have on my eligibily for Veterans Health Administration medical benefits, which I am currently receiving. I am required to fill out a financial disclosure statement each year, and I am unsure whether a disclaimed inheritance is treated as countable income by the VHA the way it is by Medicaid. Basically, I do not want to have to count as income something I never received, but I also do not want to submit false information to the VHA. I would rather have possession of the income and report it accurately. At this point, the only thing I know what to do is to not sign the Renunciation and Waiver and hope for the best. Is there a legal consequence for not signing it? I would rather the entire matter simply go away, but I am cautious about protecting my medical benefits from whatever my brother is attempting to do. He says it is in everyone's best interest to do as he says; however, my other brother and I object to the entire situation, especially since we are both being left out in the dark. I do not feel it is in my best interest to allow my brother to make financial and legal decisions for me. I also have a strange feeling that he is not interested in looking out for the best interest of anyone besides himself. What is my next step? Can I just ignore the Renunciation and Waiver document and get on with my own life as if this never happened?
  • 03-03-2006 8:52 AM In reply to

    re: Renunciation of Administration & Waiver of Process

    I am a NY lawyer. I hope that our discussion in the chat room answered these questions. If you do not want to consest, you can ignore the waiver. But you will get served with a citation.

    Sharon M. Siegel, Esq.

    Siegel & Siegel, P.C.

    Phone: 212-721-5300

    email: sieglaw@optonline.net

    website: www.siegelandsiegel.com

  • 03-03-2006 2:08 PM In reply to

    re: Renunciation of Administration & Waiver of Process

    First off, in any future posts, please break up text into paragraphs so that it's easier to read.

    "I received a letter from an attorney that requested that I sign a Renunciation of Letters of Administration and Waiver of Process in reference to the probate of my father's estate."

    Unless there's something weird in the language, it's a procedural matter to expedite appointing the administrator without hassle (otherwise the court has to notify you and wait for you to object to the appointment). You're likely renouncing your right to object to the appointment.

    "I am confused why I received this request because my father had a will which supposedly left the entire estate to my older brother."

    That has nothing to do with it; you are an heir at law as far as the state is concerned in the event the will is invalid.

    "'My brother has decided to assign two half-siblings as adminstrators and wants me, my other brother, and himself to sign the Renunciation and Waiver document."

    I don't see how it's up to the brother to "assign" his executorship-administratorship to others, but I don't have all the facts. Whomever your father named as executor in his will should be appointed, assuming will is valid and there's no reason to object the appointment.

    "I have been told by my brother that he intends to transfer the entire estate to the two half-siblings, whether my other brother and I agree to that or not."

    Well, until you get a copy of the will from the probate court (I recommend), you can't know whether or not to do this.

    "My brother has not provided many details about the estate, including its value. He merely states that it is a small estate."

    So contact the court and ask to get a copy of the will sent to you.

    "Why else would someone voluntarily disclaim an inheritance that includes cash and a life insurance policy?"

    Unless the life insurance policy was made payable to the estate as beneficiary, policy would fall outside the estate.

    "I have a concern about the effect of my being unduly influenced to disclaim my portion of the estate, if I am entitled at all, would have on my eligibily for Veterans Health Administration medical benefits, which I am currently receiving."

    You'd have to talk with someone at the VHA about that (and then only if you are a named heir in the will).

    "I am required to fill out a financial disclosure statement each year, and I am unsure whether a disclaimed inheritance is treated as countable income by the VHA the way it is by Medicaid."

    You haven't disclaimed anything yet; you don't even know if you were left anything.

    "Is there a legal consequence for not signing it?"

    Of course not. They'll just have to go through the other steps.

    I would rather the entire matter simply go away, but I am cautious about protecting my medical benefits from whatever my brother is attempting to do."

    You don't have to do anything.

    "Can I just ignore the Renunciation and Waiver document and get on with my own life as if this never happened?"

    Sure.

    Talk with a local estate-probate attorney if necessary.
  • 03-03-2006 2:12 PM In reply to

    Ok [+0+] re: Renunciation of Administration & Waiver of Process

    "But you will get served with a citation. "

    And what is the consequence of such a citation?

    Wow, NY must be cracking down (for no good reason, I think). Can't always have been this way; when did they institute?
  • 03-03-2006 2:20 PM In reply to

    Aaaah, I looked up the particular form in question ...

    Not "citation" as in penalty but summons to appear (mix up my terminology from state to state, I guess). If poster doesn't appear or respond/file an answer with court, I gather from form that court will just assume he doesn't object to the requested appointments.

  • 03-03-2006 3:06 PM In reply to

    • Dede1
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 03-02-2006
    • Posts 9

    re: Renunciation of Administration & Waiver of Process

    Ms. Siegel,

    I want to thank you for your assistance in helping me decide which course of action to take in the matter I presented to you in the chat room and this message board. You provided me with answers in reference to the legal terminology (i.e., Renunciation of Letters of Administration and Waiver of Process) that I have been waiting for my brother's attorney to explain to me.

    I called him over a week ago to ask him to explain the document to me, but I found myself talking to his voicemail, and he has not returned my call. Therefore, I found myself searching the Internet trying to teach myself in one to two weeks the aspects of law that I needed to know in order to make an informed decision. It would have been much less time-cosuming if the attorney would have returned my phone call and explained the document he sent to me to sign.

    Since I do not have any cause to believe that he is less than a highly-qualified attorney, I can only assume that the reason he has not returned my phone call is because he has no client/attorney relationship with me, which means that he has no obligation to return my phone call. That is fine because I have no client/attorney relationship with him. I have no dispute with the attorney. He is merely doing his job, and it is clear that his job is to represent my brother, since my brother is the person who retained him as counsel.

    In other words, it seems to me that there is an adversarial relationship between my brother and myself in terms of the probate of my father's estate. I am not sure that my brother was aware that he alienated himself from our other brother and myself when he decided to involve us in an estate settlement in which neither one of us thought we would be involved because neither one of us has seen our recently deceased father since we were in our early teens.

    It feels very emotionally stressing to be suddenly thrust, after almost forty years, back into my father's life after he is dead. It feels very weird to be essentially arguing with a dead man over his worldly possessions, especially since I want no part in the dispute. It is strange how ghosts from the past can appear in the least expected place--Surrogate's Court. I have heard of the legal nightmares and family disputes that occur due to probate proceedings, but I never thought I would find myself in such a situation over the estate of a person, my father, whom I consider a total stranger. It also is strange how the legal process, which is meant to provide justice to people who has been underserved in that area, protects those who have been underserved, whether the undeserved want protection or not.

    Basically, my brother should have left things alone and accepted the inheritance that was given to him in our father's will. By involving my other brother and myself without our knowledge or consent in a probate proceeding for reasons unknown to us, he has complicated an estate settlement that should have been quite simple. He should have taken the money and run. I would not have cared in the least. There was a will, and my brother, the sole beneficiary named in that will, is the person who chose to say the will was invalid. That leads me to believe something is not quite kosher. And, quite frankly, I do not sign my name to any document that invloves me in something that seems not quite right.

    Immediately following this paragrah, I have inserted the text of the email that my brother sent to me as an explanation of why I should sign the document. It seems like a lot of double talk to me, especially since some of what he says is not true. For instance, he says he called my other brother and myself about this issue in November. My other brother and I both seem to have sudden cases of amnesia concerning a phone call related to this issue, or our brother is playing us;. I do not care to be played, and I am wary of anyone who makes an attempt to play me. It is a shame that my own brother seems to be the one who is playing me.

    In my brother's own words, including his own grammar:

    "I did not intend to offend you but simply was trying to understand your objection to [half-siblings] becoming administrators of Dads estate. I hired the lawyer to close dads’ affairs and am attempting to close the estate as inexpensively as possible. Dads’ estate amounts to property worth about $20,000, a bank account of $1,300 and an insurance policy of $10,000. To date funeral and lawyer cost have exceed $10,000 and property taxes of about $2,000 have been paid. Medical bills have yet to be paid and the hospital has not yet filed a claim against the estate. They will have 7 months from the time the estate is filed to place a lien. If we close the estate before they file they are prevented from filing a lien.

    When we spoke in November you indicated that you had no objection to [half-siblings] receiving the estate. Dads’ will named me as beneficiary to his estate and as guardian for [half-siblings]. Since they are now both of legal age it was more cost effective to name them directly as administrators. By doing so they become responsible for all expenses associated with the estate. Prolonging the closure of the estate will double the legal fees and give creditors an opportunity to place a lien on the estate. If this happens the entire estate will be lost to creditors and there will be nothing left.

    The form that was sent to you was to confirm our conversation of last November. It is simply a form that allows the estate to be transferred to [half-siblings] without implementing the will. If we must implement the will, Dads’ estate will be placed in my name and I will sign it over to [half-siblings]. The only one that will benefit are the lawyers and creditors.

    Please reevaluate your decision to sign the renunciation form. There is no real value to this estate and it is in everyone’s best interest to close this as soon as possible."

    There are many flaws in my brother's argument. For starters, his math is off or the property taxes for a very small house supposedly valued at $20,000 in the middle of nohwere in Upstate New York are exceedingly high. I recently got my own tax assessment for my very comfortable and spacious home here in Virginia, and my property taxes for this house are in the same ballpark as those of my father's small house in Upstate New York. Either I am getting a very good deal on my taxes or my father's house is not as small as my brother says it is. I have never seen it, and I do not even know the address in order to look it up on the publicly available tax assessment records.

    Also, my brother claimed during a phone call that the attorney fees he has already paid are almost $6,000 and expects them to go higher. That seems to be an outrageous amount of money to pay an attorney for such a small estate settlement. I do not believe an attorney in good standing in the legal community would jeopardize his good standing by charging more than the going rate. I have no reason to believe the attorney is robbing the grave of a poor man. I have more reason to believe that he has charged a reasonable fee that correlates directly with the laws that govern atorney's fees in probate proceedings. He is too well established as an attorney to throw his career away for a client he does not know except through this probate issue. His bio is available on the Internet, and I find no reason to doubt his qualifications or ethics.

    All in all, my brother is not able (or willing) to provide my other brother and myself consistent or logical information. "Something is rotten in Denmark" (Shakespeare). Please excuse the quote and the long-winded message. I am a former English professor and have a habit of doing both at times. It is disconcerting to know that I will be receiving a citation from the Surrogate's Court for not wanting to participate in something that smells rotten.

    I have a strong feeling that I may need to retain an attorney of my own sometime in the near future because my brother just does not know when to leave things alone. He likes to get his way, and he has a history of using the legal community in his many failed attempts to get his way.

    I, on the other hand, hold a United States Government Secret Security Clearance, which means that I undergo extensive background investigations routinely and successfully. My integrity is unquestionably outstanding, according to the Department of Defense. (Oh, besides being a former English professor, I am also a former Marine and DoD employee.)

    My persistence in putting this seemingly small issue on the table for discussion with anyone who might be interested in a dialogue about this issue is due to my need to ensure that my integrity is not brought into question by the actions of my brother. I will lose a lot more than my Veterans Administration medical benefits. I will lose my security clearance, and any hope of being rehired for a DoD contractor position that I left recently in order to get some rest and medical care at the VA hospital. I do not want my brother to make trouble for me. He is short-sighted, and I have no idea what he is doing. I only know that he has gotten me involved in something that I question.

    Now seems like a good time for me to be shopping for an attorney. I anticipate a need to counter sue a person, my brother, who has a history of suing people who resist him. I have no intention of taking the first legal step, but I also have no desire to be caught unprepared when or if he does take that first legal step against me for not signing that document.

    If you read this message, I want to thank you for taking the time to do so.
  • 03-03-2006 3:35 PM In reply to

    • Dede1
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 03-02-2006
    • Posts 9

    Oops! Typos in My Previous Message:

    Please excuse the typos in my last message. I am only human, and I forgot to proofread before I hit the SEND button.
  • 03-03-2006 4:31 PM In reply to

    Ok [+0+] Holey moley -- I don't see a reason ...

    to post a novel on this (the English professor part aside). Even if it did contain general legal questions (it doesn't), it's farrrr too long. This isn't the place to vent. Sounds like you ought to talk with someone though. :)

    I don't think you understand -- your brother has-had a *legal obligation* under NY law (and that of any state, frankly) to contact you on the matter of your father's estate. It's not a matter of needing consent before contacting you.

    "There was a will, and my brother, the sole beneficiary named in that will, is the person who chose to say the will was invalid."

    I don't think you mentioned this in your previous post.

    The whole business about a form that "allows the estate to be transferred ... without implementing the will" seems new as well.

    No one here can give you specific legal advice on documents they haven't read (and wouldn't even if you could post them); consult the documents filed in the probate court action and a NY estate-probate attorney if necessary.

  • 03-06-2006 1:59 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,404

    re: Renunciation of Administration & Waiver of Process

    I cannot imagine why you get bogged down in a process with your brother.

    1. If there is a valid will it seems it all goes to your brother?

    2. If you brother turns around and gives it to 2 half sibs thats his private choice to make such a gift.

    3. If the will is invalid then you stand to get 1/3 (assuming you and brothers are the only 3 blood descendants) under intestacy.

    4. I would not be suprised if the will is invalid based on some of the words you use.

    5. Something is a muck. But why spend your resources to run it down.

    6. I doubt you are under any legal duty to sign anything--why would you think otherwise?.

    7. I'd sit tight until at very least I saw a copy of the will as filed for probate !! And I'd want an estate inventory.

    8. If brother can jawbone everyone into signing off--he wins???



  • 03-06-2006 4:58 PM In reply to

    • Dede1
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 03-02-2006
    • Posts 9

    re: Renunciation of Administration & Waiver of Process

    Drew,

    Thank you for understanding my situation. You nailed the issue right on the head when you stated, "I cannot imagine why you get bogged down in a process with your brother." That is exactly how I feel about the issue.

    Along with that statement, you go on to do a very good analysis of the entire issue by stating, "Something is amuck." The estate is supposedly small, and my father did leave a will. I do not understand why my brother is making things so complicated.

    Your next comment that you doubt I am under any legal duty to sign anything is the precise reason I posted messages on this message board. That word "doubt" is present in my own thoughts concerining this issue. I do not know my legal obligation--or if I even have one. However, I now have information concerning legal terminology that I did not know before and now can make an informed decision.

    My primary interest in the matter of settling my father's estate is to protect myself from my brother's "muck"--to use your most excellent choice of word to sum up the situation. I really have no interest in arguing with siblings over my father's estate, unless, of course, he won the lottery, which I doubt.

    I have spent some time browsing the posts on this message board during the last few days to gain some insight into the legal issues other people are having to deal. I recognize mine as being a very small issue in comparison with many of the other issues discussed on the board. I am grateful that my issue is small. However, I want to make sure it remains small. That is why I posted my entire situation in detail.

    Your comments are highly appreciated. You have a good sense of the issue. In fact, I have already concluded to do what you suggest, which is that I should sit tight for a while. I read your comments as being those of a consumer, which is in keeping with your status on your profile. You have given me no reason to believe otherwise. You have not expressed or implied that you are an attorney. I appreciate that, too. What I most appreciate is that your comments were not authoritative but, rather, very constructive. I am open to constructive comments such as your own.

    Thank you.



  • 03-10-2006 9:05 AM In reply to

    Warning [=*#] to dede1

    I deleted your last message because it was inappropriate for these message boards. Do not speak to people in the way you did, or you risk having your account closed.

    Angie
    Community Moderator
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