MISHANDLING OF ESTATE BY EXECUTRIX

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Latest post Thu, Jun 11 2009 11:50 AM by Drew. 6 replies.
  • Tue, Jun 9 2009 12:38 PM

    • SISTER1960
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    MISHANDLING OF ESTATE BY EXECUTRIX

    My mother passed away in August 2008.  My sister is Executrix of the will, which includes real estate, personal items and vehicle. My mother and sister are in WA and I am in AZ.  I have tried to contact my sister concerning the progress of the estate for about 8 months now, with no response. I went to WA recently (May) and discovered that the house and items in it were left abandoned and it has been returned to the bank. I contacted other family members who had not heard from her either (they are also named in the will).

    According to the will, the house was to be sold and any remainder divided. The house had a reverse mortgage on it for about $170,000 and was appraised for well over $200,000. My sister had "estate sales" and I do not know what was sold or how much money she made from them. My sister also "disposed" of my parent's ashes, apparently privately, because no one else was notified. My mother's wishes were that the ashes were to be divided and placed in flowerpots with roses for each of the sisters. At least 2 relatives have heard that the house was broken into, items were taken (including the ashes). I do not believe that she filed with probate, since there is no record in the local courts.

     I have had no contact with her and no knowledge of any of this until now.  It seems that she has deliberately gave up any interest in the estate. Is there any recourse to take at this point?  I feel like I have been "stabbed in the back" by her actions. 

     

  • Tue, Jun 9 2009 12:54 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: MISHANDLING OF ESTATE BY EXECUTRIX

    Laymans take:

    Essentially if Sis never filed the will for probate then she never got letters of administration and she had  NO formal powers to do ZIPPO.

    In a sense she probably sold stuff as if it was her own and pocketed the money. A form of theft!

    Being stabbed in the back hurts--but unless you can recover money it may not be a good legal issue.

    You need to do some math as to if there was even any net value in pot as to home!

    You need to do some fast digging as to true status of home.

    So why are you not demanding answers out of Sis with as loud a voice as you can find?

    If she got a few hundred bucks out of selling stuff, then to use counsel at say $300/hr to fight her may not be cost effective.

    Ordinarly if paper executor sat on will for 10+ months you could petition to toss them or file as if there was no will ---counsel in WA could give opinion as to waht is mre likley to work--but if pot was essentially empty it may be uneconomical.



  • Tue, Jun 9 2009 1:01 PM In reply to

    Re: MISHANDLING OF ESTATE BY EXECUTRIX

    SISTER1960:
    Is there any recourse to take at this point?

    Theoretically, you can open intestate probate in WA, and petition the court for sanctions against your sister for malfeasance.

    Realistically, though, you'll probably need a lawyer that could cost you tens of thousands when there doesn't appear to be anything left.

    With regard to the reverse mortgage, if you aren't familiar with all the details, you might not realize that it likely turned out to be a wash when the house went back to the bank.

    As for estate sales, probably wasn't much money realized there either. Used household stuff generally goes for a dime on the dollar. And there might not have been anything left after covering funeral expenses. Even if a court were to order your sister to pay you something it likely wouldn't be worth the cost of the attorney.

    SISTER1960:
    I feel like I have been "stabbed in the back" by her actions.

    No question about that.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Tue, Jun 9 2009 2:29 PM In reply to

    • Ford
      Lawyer
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    Can't just sit there . . .

    Anybody with a potential interest in an estate needs to keep informed.  Primarily, they need to make sure something is started in the court system.  If nothing is opened with the courts, it is almost "finder's keepers" and you can't do much to recover money once it is spent.

    An appointment in a will normally doesn't create any actual duties because the appointment is involuntary.  If she actually started acting for the estate, that could create problems.  However, until a court appoints her, she has no legal power to be dealing with properties that are titled, for instance.

    Contact the bank and check on the status of the home.

  • Tue, Jun 9 2009 7:16 PM In reply to

    • SISTER1960
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    Re: MISHANDLING OF ESTATE BY EXECUTRIX

    Drew:
    So why are you not demanding answers out of Sis with as loud a voice as you can find?

    I have demanded answers from her, but since she has refused to talk to me for at least 8 months, I don't expect any response. I have demanded receipts and information from her, but I doubt she will send it to me.  She did send me an e-mail saying that she didn't need my "Drama".

    Since I just found out about this within the last week, I am gathering information to find out what I can do.  Since I am in AZ and the estate is in WA, I am pretty much limited to the internet. and phone.

    The value of the house was appraised at about $250,000.  Since she let it go, I think that my 1/3 of the estate that she lost would be about $20,000.  I am trying to contact the reverse mortgage company for information.

    She also paid for the funeral using my mother's credit after she died.    She works in a bank and transferred the funds.  I am sure that the records can be traced.

    Since she has led everyone to believe that she was executor and just walked away from everything without contacting any of the beneficiaries, is that a "breach of fiduciary duties"?  My parents were collectors of antiques and there was a lot of stuff left in the house.  I heard that she was getting notices to remove it by a certain date or lose it.

    At this point I just need to find an attorney in WA that will give me an idea of what to do.  

     

  • Wed, Jun 10 2009 10:12 AM In reply to

    Re: MISHANDLING OF ESTATE BY EXECUTRIX

    SISTER1960:
    The value of the house was appraised at about $250,000.
    When was it appraised? If it was appraised a few years ago, it's likely worth a lot less now.

    You can get a rough idea of the current market value at:

    http://www.zillow.com/

    Just put in the address. It'll give you an approximate market value plus recent sales prices of nearby homes.

    SISTER1960:
    At this point I just need to find an attorney in WA that will give me an idea of what to do.

    You can certainly do that but I suggest that you educate yourself about WA probate.

    Here's a website you can start at.

    http://www.wa-probate....

    It has forms and information about procedures.

    Once you have a basic knowledge of the procedures, you'll have a better understanding of whatever the lawyer tells you.

    At some point you'll want a copy of the death certificate. You can order it at:

    http://www.doh.wa.gov/...

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Thu, Jun 11 2009 11:50 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
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    Re: MISHANDLING OF ESTATE BY EXECUTRIX

    Well don't assume answers---dig and use some smarts.

    The appraisal used for tax purposes in my area runs super super low compared to market values.

    Antiques worth hundreds of K $ have turned up in motley collections of "junk"--a junk chair in my parents garage had folks fighting over it at $1000 a few years back!

     

    Odds are Sis ran "sales" and pocketed the proceeds. Now for you and other potential heirs to put Sis to the waterboard is illegal--but the sooner you put on some heat the better your odds as to recovery of anything.

    What does will say othere are to get--have you let them know in writing that Sis has failed to move forward and may have depleated or squandered estate assets

     

     



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