What to do about a troublesome beneficiary/sibling?

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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What to do about a troublesome beneficiary/sibling?

My sister had been “borrowing” money from dad for several years – paying her rent in another state, etc. Dad has died.On advice of an attorney 6 years ago, all checks were memo’d “Loan”, and the agreement was that she was spending her inheritance pre-mortem. She has spent all of his money, all that is left is his property, and a few small CD’s with beneficiaries who must now pay to clear out the property. She is allying to occupy the property and wants us to pay her to clean it, while we all pay the taxes, electric, heat etc. My other sister and I are co-executors, and the other 2 brothers want her excommunicated. What to do next?

Asked on July 27, 2011 Massachusetts


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your situation.  You and your co-executor have a difficult task ahead of you and are in a very difficult position.  It is never easy to have to be the sobering party in a family feud but you have to be here.  You are to act in the best interests of the estate and try as hard as you can not to have your personal feeling get involved. Ex communicating her does not mean that she can not inherit from the estate.  Now, I am hoping that you have an attorney to help you with all of this.  You need one or at the very least one for consultation.  As executors you need to marshal (gather) assets and debts of the estate.  You can start by simply making a list of the monies owed the estate (her loan is just that) and all the assets. You need to consider the taxes the estate must pay.  You have to advise your sister that she has to repay the loan to the estate or you can try and deduct her loan from her inheritance.  As for the house, you all have an equal right to it. And so you all are equally liable for the taxes, etc. If you want to make her a deal to clean it out to pay off some of her debt owed that is up to you.  She can also do that in lieu of rent.  But really with her track record here I might think it was not a good idea unless you have an agreement in place with specific terms.  You may also have to bring suit against her if she refuses to repay.  The estate can collect from her portion of the inheritance.  Please get help.  Good luck. 

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