Dear Quentin, My grandfather recently passed away, and my grandmother has been declared mentally handicapped enough for her insurance to pay for full-time care in a care facility. After the death of my grandfather, his only surviving son, my aunt, got upset with me at the funeral home during the final planning meeting.
“’I have been the executor for almost 20 years and Grandpa also commissioned me to plan the details of his funeral.’ ”
Since then, my aunt dismissed me as executor and also dismissed me as co-proxy. I didn’t find out about this until a chance meeting today with a family member. To my knowledge, there is approximately $ 1.3 million in assets, most of which comes from a living trust, and the family home that is under contract to purchase. My opinion is that the power of attorney, the execution and possibly the will could not be changed due to the grandmother’s state of mind. I’m not sure if I need to speak to a lawyer about it now, after Grandma passes away, or if it will really matter in the end as I believe trust is the most and is set in stone. I don’t want to fight for a few thousand dollars or waste my time with Grandma. Your thoughts are appreciated. Grandson You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to the coronavirus at firstname.lastname@example.org Dear Grandson: I believe you should make two phone calls: one to your family’s attorney to establish the accuracy of the account of this relative and, after that, one for her aunt to resolve any disputes she had at the funeral meeting, and also to discuss their shared responsibilities. Only make this second call when you have all the facts and know your options. It is best to make your intentions known and explain your reasoning before taking any action to prevent an already tense situation from escalating. One must petition the court to change the executor without the cooperation of the existing executor, so I question the veracity of the statement of this common family member. “The collection of this evidence requires depositions, expert witnesses such as accountants, questioning, witness interviews, subpoenaed documents, and evidence presented following the rules of evidence and subject to the executor’s objections,” according to the guidelines of Klenk Law, a law firm boutique.
“‘The power attorneys have the keys to the house and the bank accounts.’ ”
“Just being upset with the executor is not enough,” according to Peter Klenk. “You must provide the judge with a basis for expulsion.” Causes for removal include friction between co-executors, breach of the terms of the will, lack of cooperation with a vital party or beneficiary, negligence or mismanagement of estate assets, misconduct, self-negotiation, abuse of discretion, embezzlement of funds, hostility towards heirs and the beach of fiduciary duty, he says. And yes, that works both ways. The power of attorney holds the keys to the house and bank accounts. “The POA, in fact, is the most abused estate document in terms of theft,” writes Ken Russell, a partner at Baratta, Russell and Baratta. Recommends a provision that requires the POA to provide detailed updates and documentation on all recent activities. It may not prevent financial abuse, but it could deter the POA from acting recklessly. Information gathering first and, depending on what you find, action later. Ultimately, I advise against inaction and / or underestimating the value of either role. The Moneyist: ‘I cut his hair because he doesn’t pay for a haircut’: My billionaire husband is 90 years old. I have cared for him for 41 years, but it does not help my son. Hello MarketWatchers. Take a look at Moneyist’s private FB Facebook group, + 0.98%, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or comment on the latest Moneyist columns. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, on all media and platforms, including third parties.