Can a beneficiary use the estate attorney for their own business?

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Can a beneficiary use the estate attorney for their own business?

My father recently passed. My sister was named executor of our estate. My father loaned my sister (executor) money (20 years ago) for a home. My sister and father never thought to take him off the deed although she had paid him back. The home is in the estate now that my father has passed. My brother wants a piece of it because it is listed in the estate. My sister wants the estate attorney to represent her in court and she wants to use the estate money to fight my bother so he does not get any of the home. How can she possibly use the estate attorney (at $350 an hour) to fight my brother? She is really using part of my inheritance for their sibling rivalry.

Asked on February 8, 2012 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

Steven Fromm / Steven J Fromm & Associates, P.C.

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

She has a clear conflict of interest as she must preserve and protect estate assets against claims.  As she is making a claim against the estate for assets that are part of the estate, she cannot claim not make a claim against herself as executrix.  You need to retain an estate attorney to have her removed for cause and to discuss these and other related issues.  Do this immediately. 

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  And for the problems here.  Your sister should not be sitting as the executor of the estate.  She has a conflict.  Your brother can not either because he has one as well. You need to ask the court to have her removed.  Depending on how you look at this it may however, be an estate issue to be fought with the estate attorney and estate funds because the estate needs to clarify if the property is in fact part of your Dad's assets. Still your sister should not be the executor in this matter.  Good luck.


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