What are my rights to my relatives will? 5 Answers as of June 03, 2011

We have a situation that we need to know if what is being done is fraud and can an executor of a will be held responsible for his actions. We have a terminally ill relative that has a few months or less to live. She is only in her 50’s and has a very small estate. She has surprised the family by appointing her boyfriend as the executor of her will. This person is not well known by the family. He is helping care for her and seems to be a nice person. What bother us are the games that are being played with her credit cards thinking that everything can be forgiven upon her death. She and her boyfriend have used her credit card to buy airline tickets for her daughter to come and visit. They plan to buy an expensive television for her to watch as she is confined to the bed. We have also heard of plans to withdraw cash from one of the credit cards to leave to the same daughter as an inheritance. I’m thinking some of that money will end up in the boyfriend’s pocket. I have warned the boyfriend to be careful about what they are doing. He got concerned and called the credit card company and they told him he could not be held responsible as a signer on the cards. He also feels that he cannot be held responsible as the executor. I’m ex-law enforcement and I feel this is fraud.

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Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
It's not fraud until she passes and the money doesn't get paid and even then,the intention to defraud would have to be proven to justify such a conclusion. While I don't condone such actions, it appears that she and the boyfriend are intent upon doing what they're doing and that's about the end of it. If the credit card company wants to go after the estate, then they can do so. Otherwise, it might be best to leave it alone - with all due respect. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/3/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
An authorized user on a credit card is obligated to repay the debt on the card. Every time the boyfriend signed the receipt he indicated that he was going to pay the debt according to the terms of the credit card. Further, even if he files for Bankruptcy, those credit cards will have the opportunity to object to the discharge of the debt since there was no intent to repay when the card was used. This is fraud, but it will be up to the credit card companies to determine what actions they wish to take.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 6/3/2011
Apple Law Firm PLLC
Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
Generally there is no liability for ordinary use, but as you can see there is the ability to abuse the system. Whether this activity arises to the level of criminal fraud is one that the police would have to determine. In most cases, if there is no probate, there is no opportunity for the credit card company to make a claim and they would not generally investigate such activity. This does not mean it is ok to do what is being done. If someone was to report the activity to the police or credit card company, the boyfriend may not have liability as a signor, but may through a fiduciary agency that has been created for other purposes. Unless you were named in a will, you would not have standing to challenge anything in a probate court, because you are not a descendent your relative (I am assuming)
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/3/2011
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
First of all, none of you have any right to inherit. A person can spend their estate as they please. When a person dies, the person's estate is liable for credit cards. If there is no estate, the bills simple go unpaid. It is not "fraud". (If there are cosigners on the cards, they remain liable). Note that a cash advance to create an inheritance does not work, as the debt gets paid ahead of the heirs.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/2/2011
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