What can I do if I am the executor of my father's will and his wife wants funds from the sale of his house? 22 Answers as of February 06, 2014

My father passed away in 2013. He left me (his daughter) as executor of his estate. His wife of 1 1/2 years wants funds from the sale of his house, she was MUCH younger than he and had an annuity (in his name) surrendered one week before he passed. He was in the hospital and incapacitated?! How do I proceed?

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Strickland Law, PLLC
Strickland Law, PLLC | Jeffrey S. Strickland
Unless there was a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement between your father and step-mother, she can elect to take under the will or choose the elective share of the net estate. She can also seek year's support and other items. Since they were married for 1.5 years, the elective share is 10% of the net estate.You need to discuss with the estate's counsel because as executrix, your fiduciary duty is to the estate, including beneficiaries. You might need counsel for your personal concern as a beneficiary.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 2/4/2014
Law Office Of Victor Waid
Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
Obtain for yourself a probate litigation attorney to have you appointed as administrator of your father's estate. The attorney can then guide you as to his former wife's claim for proceeds from the estate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/6/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
You will need the help of a lawyer to start the probate of the will. Make sure it is someone who specializes.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/6/2014
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
You follow the directions in the will concerning the house and who is entitled to it and the proceeds. You should consult a probate attorney to review all of the facts and documents.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/6/2014
Resnick & Moss, P.C.
Resnick & Moss, P.C. | Mark Bredow
Simply put, the answer is too detailed and broad to answer here. There is too much involved. Please consult with an attorney who has experience with Probate and Estates as soon as possible.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/6/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    You should consult with an experienced probate litigation attorney in your local area. You will need to be represented in the probate case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    This question should be directed to the lawyer helping you with the probate. In Oregon, a spouse does have certain rights in an estate. The amount getting this wrong will cost is a LOT more than the amount your probate lawyer will charge to get it right.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 2/6/2014
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    As the executor, you must follow the terms of the will and all probate laws. If you have an attorney, he/she should be advising you. If not, no distributions are to be made from the sale proceeds or any other estate funds until the court issues an order of final distribution. If you do not have any attorney, you should consult with one regarding this matter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/4/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    As executor of the Will you have to follow the terms of the Will and distribute the assets as directed. It is also your duty to collect all of the assets of the estate. Was your father legally competent when the annuity was surrendered? Did your father execute the proper documents to surrender the annuity? Did the spouse have a Power of Attorney for Property to act on behalf of your father? Is there any basis for bringing the proceeds of the surrendered annuity into the estate? The facts surrounding the surrender of the annuity would be very important in evaluating if anything can be done to bring the cash surrender value of the annuity into the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/6/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    First, you would follow all the terms of the will. If it does not leave her anything, so be it. However, not that she could claim omitted spouse to try to get something. As the Executor, you need to verify activities of the estate just prior to his death. Thus, you should investigated the annuity transfer. If he was incapacitated, he would not be able to make the transfer. If you find it questionable, you would schedule a hearing to address the matter. You should retain a probate attorney to help you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/4/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    You rush to a probate lawyer's office, RIGHT AWAY. The wife is very likely entitled to funds from the estate. You need to have a lawyer advise you before you become personally liable for mistakes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/6/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    If you are the executor there is a Will? What does the Will state? Without a court order you cannot distribute assets in most cases. Sounds like you need counsel if you do not already counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/6/2014
    Mains Law Office
    Mains Law Office | Julie Mains
    Who is listed as beneficiary in the will? As executor, it is your fiduciary responsibility to distribute to the beneficiaries. If she is not one of them, that is your response to her.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Well, first is there a will and does she get anything under the will? Was the house only in his name or in both? Has the 4-month time period for creditors to file claims passed? I suggest you contact a local attorney who deals in probate and go through all of the issues with him or her.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/6/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    You need to speak with an attorney and discuss what point in the probate process you are and if she has filed any legal claims. If you feel the annuity should not have gone to her, you can fight that or settle with her that she keeps the annuity and you keep the proceeds from the house (assuming there are no other heirs). If community assets were used to pay the payments on the house, the wife will have some interest, but it will likely be very small depending upon how long your dad owned the property before then.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/6/2014
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    You should have an attorney representing you as Personal Representative (Executor) of the estate. Surviving spouses do have certain statutory rights regardless of any Will left by her deceased husband. You need an attorney from your state to explain the rights of the surviving spouse under your state's laws and help you administer the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 2/4/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Hire an attorney so you can be appointed the personal representative and follow the dictates of the court.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/6/2014
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    If you're the executor, then you should already have a probate attorney. If somehow you don't, then you need to retain an attorney. This is the kind of specific question that your attorney should address.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/4/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    The will governs here and unless she somehow contests it or elects against it, she shouldn't get anything from sale of the house.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/4/2014
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    If you have not had the will admitted to probate, see an attorney as soon as possible. You can only act as the executor if you have been appointed by the probate court. If you have been appointed executor by the probate court, then your attorney should be able to answer these questions.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 2/4/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    You have to go by the terms of the will. However, some states allow a surviving spouse a small percentage of the estate before dispersing the remainder. Check with a local estate attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 2/4/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Hire an attorney to counsel you as to your obligations. Just because she wants does not mean she gets.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/6/2014
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