How could I get my brother to acknowledge me as a co-executor of our mother's Will? 13 Answers as of August 24, 2015

I am listed on my mother's will as a potential co-executor if one of my two brother's bows out of the task. One of my brothers is doing just that, but neither one of them will acknowledge that I am to take on the role. They would prefer the one brother do everything himself. Also, since Mom's death, my siblings have taken considerable advantage of me. I was told I had to surrender copies of the keys to the family house (where my daughter and I still live) and that I had to front the money for Mom's funeral (which everyone swears they will repay), as well as numerous falsehoods they are telling people, even the lawyer who had Mom's will (whom they feel is ripping them off by asking for a $5000 probate fee). I don't want to lay claim to anything. The house is over 50 years old and falling apart. I just want to have the truth on my side so I will no longer be taken advantage of. If I am acknowledged as a co-executor, will this hinder my brother's infringement on my personal life, etc.? Any advice you can offer would be gratefully appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
Only the court's can name the personal representative and/or co-personal representatives. The judge normally follows the decedent's instructions in the will. However, if any one objects, the judge will take that into consideration also. Depending on how large the estate is will determine if the $5000 fee is excessive or not.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/24/2015
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
There are two issues here. First, you can get your brothers to acknowledge your role as co-executor by petitioning the probate court to name you as co-executor, as required by your mother's will. Second, although you may feel that you're being taken advantage of by your brothers, you haven't mentioned anything that sounds illegal to me. Executors have certain obligations, one of which is securing the assets of the estate. One way to do this is to limit the number of keys to the house that are floating around. It was gracious of you to handle the expenses of the funeral and most states require that such expenses are the first bill to be paid from the assets of the estate. So you should submit a bill for the whole amount to the executor (your brother) and the estate attorney. And if you and your brothers think the attorney is charging too much, look around for another attorney to help settle the estate. Depending on the size and complexity of your mother's estate, $5000 for attorney fees may not be out of line.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 8/20/2015
Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
An executor is nominated in a will and appointed by a court. You should get notice of any petition relevant to this and have an opportunity to be heard. To get paid for the funeral expenses, you MUST file a Creditor's Claim in time. Consult a lawyer now. One who practices in this area of the law. Bring all you r paperwork with you to the meeting.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/19/2015
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
The will nominates the executor of the estate but the executor is appointed by the Court. Any interested person can nominate a representative though convincing a court to appoint someone other than the person nominated in the will is extremely difficult. If the Will nominates executors in order then you can petition the court for appointment when your rightful place in the priority ranking comes up. You should discuss this directly with the attorney that is handling the estate. As a resident of the decedent's home you will be asked to compensate the estate for occupancy and possession. If you are to receive a direct ownership interest in the real property through distribution under the Will this rental obligation is diminished (you do not have to pay yourself). If the property needs to be sold to pay claims against the estate or because the distributions are not in-kind then then your ability to continue to reside in an asset of the estate will be limited. If you feel you are being taken advantage of you should discuss your rights with an attorney that will represent your interests.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/19/2015
Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C.
Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C. | Richard M. Levy
Retain an attorney to assert your rights in Surrogate's Court.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/19/2015
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Obtain the services o a probate attorney to enforce your rights under the will.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2015
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    It is much more efficient if one person acts as personal representative of the estate. Ask your brothers for a written agreement, saying you will agree not to serve as co-PR if they: 1) agree to repay X dollars you advanced for your mother's funeral; 2) agree that they will mail you a copy of EVERY document filed in the probate case, and a copy of EVERY document, agreement or contract they sign as PR; and agree to make a full Final Account, and not request that they be allowed to use a Verified Statement in Lieu of Final Account. And anything else you can think of, such as holding you harmless for any tax liabilities assessed after the closing of the estate. Otherwise, you'll petition to be named co-PR as set forth in the will. And no, being co-PR won't stop your brother from being a jerk. It will just make you potentially liable for his jerk actions. Incidentally, an Oregon lawyer can't charge a flat fee for a probate. The court has to approve the amount of his fees at the time of the Final Account. So, what the lawyer is getting up front is just a deposit to trust against his final fees.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/19/2015
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    Make a claim to the position with the probate court.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/19/2015
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    It sounds as if nothing has been done about administering the estate. You should see an estate lawyer ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2015
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    The only way to be the executor under a Will is to have the Will admitted to probate and yourself recognized by the Court.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/19/2015
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    You should immediately retain counsel to assist you in your appointment as the alternate co-executor. Once you have obtained your official letters of testamentary you will be able along with the other co-executor to administer the estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2015
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