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Tag: Executor

Can I be sued as the estate’s personal representative in Camden County?

Posted on Mon Oct 19, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My aunt’s will names me as her personal representative and divides the estate between all her nieces and nephews. We are not a close family and there have been disputes in the past. I am worried that my cousins will be angry that I was named the personal representative and may cause trouble. Can they sue me as the personal representative?

If you agree to be sworn in by the surrogate as the estate’s personal representative, then you have a fiduciary duty to all beneficiaries to act in their best interest. You will be given broad powers and will be largely unsupervised by the Surrogate. To counter these broad powers the beneficiaries are given the right to Petition Surrogate’s Court to review every action and expense.

Is an executor for a Chester County estate liable for damages?

Posted on Fri Sep 4, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My mother named me executor, but I don’t get along so well with my brother and I am afraid he will sue me. Can I be personally liable as the executor?

The executor is a fiduciary, owning a duty of care to the beneficiaries. If your brother is an heir, he has the right to review all actions you have taken as executor and, if he feels any action you took reduced his inheritance, as the judge to surcharge you (fine you) so he receives the correct inheritance.

In many ways, being executor is a thankless task.

Can I be sued as the executor in Pennsylvania?

Posted on Wed Aug 12, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am named as the executor in my mother’s will, but my family does not get along at all. Already, disagreements about the sale of land have become heated. If I agreed to serve as executor, can I be sued if my family has disagreements?

As the executor, you are a fiduciary, owing the beneficiaries a duty to act in their best interests. You will be given broad powers. To counter these powers, the beneficiaries are given the right to Petition the Orphan’s Court to review your actions and, if the court would find that any action of yours diminished their inheritance, to surcharge you (fine you) to make them whole.

Can I appoint my brothers as co-executors in my Will?

Posted on Fri Aug 7, 2015, on Estate Planning

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I live in Chester County, PA and currently my will names my two brothers as co-executors. I thought this was a smart thing to do, but my brothers have not been getting along recently. What are my options?

Naming your brothers as co-executors when they do not get along is a bad idea. Co-executors have to work well together and cooperate, or else the estate will stall. Brothers who are having a dispute can make what is a small family dispute into a family feud that lasts generations.

Executor Wrongdoing in Camden County, New Jersey – Steps Needed

Posted on Wed Jul 29, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: For years, my parents lent money to my cousin and his wife to pay their children’s education. To my surprise, at their deaths, my cousin’s wife was named executor. She “hired” my cousin who is a CPA to handle the estate’s books. Over a year has passed and they refuse to give me any information about the estate and are calling the loans to them, “gifts”. What can I do?

I take it that you are the residuary beneficiary of the will? If so, you have the right to demand through a formal accounting to know where every penny went and a justification for every expense. You also have a right to investigate whether all those years of funding education and other money transfers were gifts or loans.

What’s the statute of limitation for estate creditor claims in Lehigh County?

Posted on Fri Jun 19, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am the executor of my Father’s estate in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. I want to distribute the estate assets according to the will. Is there a statute of limitations, or a time period for creditors making claims against the estate? If I distribute the assets, can I be held responsible if creditors make a claim?

As you’ve guessed, your Father’s death did not end his obligation to pay unpaid bills. By taking on the job of Executor, you gain the power and responsibility to assemble his assets and pay those bills. Compared to other states, Pennsylvania is rather creditor-friendly. If you have notice from a creditor, you are expected to address the claim. That being said, creditors cannot wait forever to make their claim. You trigger a one-year statute of limitations period for claims when you properly advertise the estate.

Should I appoint my two kids as co-executors of my will in Burlington County?

Posted on Mon Jun 15, 2015, on Estate Planning

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am a resident of Burlington County, New Jersey and want to modify my will. My two children are older and I want to name them as co-executors. Is naming my children as co-executors a good idea?

Naming your children as co-executors (or “personal representatives”) of your Will can be a fine idea, or a terrible idea, depending on your children. You need to be honest with yourself about how well your children’s personalities work (or do not work) together.

Can I distribute estate assets if a claim is pending?

Posted on Mon Jun 8, 2015, on Estate Litigation

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am the executor of my mother’s estate in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. I have advertised the estate and paid all the valid creditors, but a neighbor of my mother has made a claim for $10,000.00 that has no validity. Can I make distribution without paying him?

Although it’s technically possible, the correct answer is that you should not.

As the executor, you are free to make “at risk” distributions. That means if you later lose a claim, you’re personally at risk. Keep in mind, Pennsylvania is a rather creditor-friendly state.

Should I appoint my two kids as co-executors of my Will in Camden County?

Posted on Wed Apr 8, 2015, on Estate Planning

I am a resident of Camden County, New Jersey and want to modify my Will. My two children are older and I want to name them as co-executors. Is naming my children as co-executors a good idea?

Naming your children as co-executors (or “personal representatives”) of your Will can be a fine idea, or a terrible idea, depending on your children. You need to be honest with yourself about how well your children’s personalities work (or do not work) together.

Finalizing an Estate as Executor in Lehigh County, PA

Posted on Mon Apr 6, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

I am the executor of my mother’s estate in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. I have sold the real estate, liquidated all the assets and am ready to distribute, but my sister will not give me a release of liability. What can I do?

You are right to be concerned. Prior to making distributions from the estate, you should insist on getting a release of liability. This is typically done informally by using what is broadly referred to as a Family Settlement Agreement.

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