What are my duties and rights as an executor of fathers will? 28 Answers as of December 30, 2013

My father passed on the 7th of September, my mother went into his personal papers and found his ATM cards and pin numbers and withdrew all funds from his accounts within 5 days of his death. He named me the executor in his will and I am unsure as to how I am to deal with what she did, I have waited due to trying to get all of his affairs settled but need advice please help, has there been a crime committed here? I don't know what I should be doing as the executor.

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Strickland Law, PLLC
Strickland Law, PLLC | Jeffrey S. Strickland
As a duly appointed executor, you are charged with marshaling all assets, paying properly filed debts, and distributing the assets per the will or Tennessee's intestate succession law.

You did not advise if the accounts were held in joint name, payable on death or the like. You might have to decide whether to pursue action against your mother. Talk with counsel.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 1/24/2014
Law Offices of Robert Beatson II | Robert Beatson II
Suggest you talk to an attorney who handles MD estate administration matters. Information will need to be assembled and carefully reviewed for a proper analysis and determination of next steps to be taken. An experienced estates attorney in MD should be able to handle this type of matter and to protect the interests of the client.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 12/30/2013
Strowbridge Blaisdel Richardson | Strowbridge Richardson
You can go on line to the California Courts and under forms obtain a copy of the duties of an Executor. Your mother had the right to remove her share of the community property but not your father's share.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/20/2013
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
It?s near impossible for one to handle a probate without a lawyer. You should pursue this ASAP.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/20/2013
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
what your mom did was wrong.. but .. First, was his wife a beneficiary? Was the listed on the account as a jointly owned? Second you must file a probate action to probate his estate and get the bank records (if the bank will not give them to you).. Assuming your mother is a beneficiary if there are sufficient assets otherwise just set off the amount she took from what she would get anyway..
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/20/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    More information is needed. How were the accounts titled? Were they in joint names or in your father's name alone? If they were in your father's name alone, your mother's actions were illegal. You are not actually the executor, (we call them Personal Representatives in Michigan), unless and until you have been appointed by the probate court, to serve as such. If there are no other assets, it is likely that your mother would have been entitled to the money, anyway. So this may be a situation where, although she acted improperly, there is no harm, no foul.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/20/2013
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Frances An
    First, go to the probate court and get a paper telling you what your duties and rights are as executor. Were they joint bank accounts? If so, she would be entitled to take them without probate. Did she take a certified copy of his death certificate to the bank?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/20/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    Your actions depend a great deal on whether the accounts were joint accounts and what she was to inherit under the probate. If she took what was hers you do not have to take action. Otherwise you will need to obtain the return of the money taken.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/20/2013
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    You need to take the will and all other documents you have and go see a lawyer NOW.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/20/2013
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C. | Donald Scher
    You have no authority to act as Personal Representative (executor) of your father's estate until you petition the court for appointment as PR and for probate of the Will. Then, you will be able to get back the money from your mother, if she hasn't already spent it.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 12/20/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    You should be consulting with a probate lawyer, who has the expertise to conduct a probate of the estate that you do not have to recover the assets of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/20/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    You should hire a lawyer to assist you with the petition to be named personal representative (not executor any more; since you still use that term, I assume you haven't petitioned the court yet to actually be named).
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/20/2013
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    The answer depends on the ownership of the accounts. If they were joint accounts, what your mother did was proper. If not, then there could be a problem. Can you simply ask her what her thinking is?
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/20/2013
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    Were the funds in these accounts your father's separate accounts or was his wife a co-owner of these accounts? Contact a probate attorney to answer your questions regarding these funds and to assist you with the process.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/20/2013
    Robert E. Giffin | Robert E. Giffin CPA
    Go to the court and have the court require you mother to turn over any property she was not entitled to receive under the law or the will.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    It sounds like she was not on the account. If not, it is technically theft. As the executor, you can move the court to force her to turn over all of the funds she received. However, is she entitled to anything under the will? If so, maybe you can just offset what she got against what she is supposed to get. You should contact a local probate attorney and go through the details of the situation with him or her.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Contact an attorney and discuss the size of your father's estate etc. The attorney will be able to tell you whether probate is required and how/if you will be able to get the money back from your mother.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    Each State has statutes that apply to your acting as the Executor. Check with your State for these details. Additionally, most bar associations have some literature that could be of assistance. The Colorado Bar Association has a booklet about being a Personal Representative.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    If the accounts were joint she became the owner at the time of your father's death. You need to determine how the accounts were titled. If you have any doubts please contact an Estate Planning Attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    As executor, you are responsible for notifying all of your father's creditors and debtors of his death, collecting all of his assets and any money or goods owed to him, paying off all of his bills including end-of-life expenses and funeral expenses from the assets of the estate, determining and paying all taxes and estate taxes due also from assets in the estate, and then distributing the remaining assets according to the terms of his will. If your mother co-owned each of the accounts with your father, she is probably entitled to the money. If not, she will probably have to pay it back or accept it in exchange for something else she was bequeathed in the will. Most state grant surviving spouses a pre-set sum or percentage of an estate to help them pay bills, etc. until the estate is settled.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire | Neal M. Rimer
    It is time to retain an attorney to represent you and file a probate petition. The attorney will probably file an "850 petition" to request that the court order the return of property of the estate improperly taken.... but, what if your mother was entitled to the money? What does the Will state about who are going to receive the benefits of the estate? You need the advice of an attorney. Please find a probate attorney near you and get a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    The Krone Law Firm, LLC | Norman B. Krone
    You should engage a local attorney who handles estate matters to assist you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    The information presented is incomplete. Were the accounts owned solely in your father's name? Were they joint accounts? Did any of the accounts have payable on death or designated beneficiary directions? Who are the legatees under your father's will? Your father's will must be filed with the County Clerk. As the named executor you would seek to open a probate estate and be appointed the representative. As the appointed representative you would collect the probate assets existing at the time of his death, pay all claims against the estate, and distribute the assets in accord with the terms of the will. This may mean that you must recover estate assets improperly converted by your mother, if any. This can be done through the probate estate. If at the time of his death your father had assets in excess of $100,000 or real estate then a probate estate should be opened to administer and deal with the assets. The appointed representative would have the duty to collect the assets of the estate as of the date of death.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You as the executor have a right to engage an attorney to assist and advise you, at the expense of the estate. Do so.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    Goldstein and Peck. P.C.
    Goldstein and Peck. P.C. | William J. Kupinse, Jr
    Among other duties, an executor has an obligation to assemble the assets of a decedent and distribute them in accordance with the decedent's will. An executor also has duties and reporting the assets of a decedent for probate and tax purposes even if there is no tax due.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    The Curran Law Firm
    The Curran Law Firm | Maura Curran
    Inform the banks he passed away, they will know what to do with his accounts. Then you need to hire an attorney to probate his estate - the attorney can review the estate with you and tell you what you need to do, and if you have to probate.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    The Law Office of David L. Leon
    The Law Office of David L. Leon | David L. Leon
    You need to go to probate court and get letters issued. Once you get the letters issued, you can contact the bank and let them know that money was taken out of the account post mortem. If your mother is not on that account and didn't have permission, then she may have committed a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/19/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    One of the duties of an executor is to preserve the assets of the decedent, in whatever way is necessary. You need to have yourself appointed to this position by a court.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 12/19/2013
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