RebelTeacher

Co-executor won't sign papers

6 posts in this topic

My brother was named as co-executor of my father's will and revocable living trust. We are at a stalemate now because he refuses to sign his portion of the COT or any other papers the estate attorney sends. He thinks the estate attorney and I are trying to steal his share of the estate. He has "Googled" a lot of stuff and now thinks he knows better than the attorney.

"I can’t give you a timeframe on the probate without ******* cooperation.  If everything runs smoothly, it normally takes 9 months to one year.  As we discussed in our last phone conference, we have some additional documents ****** needs to sign.  We cannot move forward without his signature.  We are not finished administering your estate.  There are several other items we need to address such as re-titling accounts.  The invoice for our time we have spent on all matters related to the probate of the will and trust administration thus far.  Because our work is not done, there will be additional billing.  I do not have an estimate of additional costs for you at this time.  Those costs will vary in part depending on the level of cooperation we have from *******.  We will review the file and resume work once our invoice has been paid.  If you have any other questions, just let me know."

 

My questions are:

1. Do I have any recourse with my brother?

2. Can he be forced into signing the papers?

3. Is there recourse with the bank where he has been writing checks from without also having my signature as is stated in the trust? He went to the bank and changed the name of the account from my father's name to a different name.....

 

 

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24 minutes ago, RebelTeacher said:

My brother was named as co-executor of my father's will and revocable living trust.

 

Were the two of you actually appointed by the probate court to serve as co-executors of the estate (not of the will)?  Also, trusts don't have executors.  I assume the trust instrument names the two of you as co-trustees.

 

 

24 minutes ago, RebelTeacher said:

he refuses to sign his portion of the COT

 

Here's a list of things that "COT" might stand for.  Which did you mean?

 

 

24 minutes ago, RebelTeacher said:

"I can’t give you a timeframe on the probate. . . ."

 

What is this quote from and what is the purpose of including it in your post?

 

 

24 minutes ago, RebelTeacher said:

Do I have any recourse with my brother?

 

Sure.  You can petition the probate court to remove him as co-executor and co-trustee.

 

 

24 minutes ago, RebelTeacher said:

Can he be forced into signing the papers?

 

What exactly do you have in mind here?  As phrased, the answer to the question is yes (unless he has a very high tolerance for pain), but I doubt it's what you really intended to ask.  You could seek a court order, but he could potentially violate the court order.

 

 

24 minutes ago, RebelTeacher said:

Is there recourse with the bank where he has been writing checks from without also having my signature as is stated in the trust?

 

You've provided no context for this question.  You seem to be implying that the trust instrument mandates that any bank account opened for the trust require both co-trustees' signatures on all checks.  Is that what you intended?  If so, does the account agreement for the bank account in question actually state that both of your signatures are required?  If not, why not?  If so, is the bank honoring the checks that he is writing that you have not also signed?  If so, what happened when you contacted the bank to discuss the situation?

 

 

24 minutes ago, RebelTeacher said:

He went to the bank and changed the name of the account from my father's name to a different name.....

 

Well...since your father's dead, any accounts in his name should either be cashed out pursuant to the terms of any pay-on-death beneficiary designation or closed and the funds transferred to an estate account or a trust account.

 

You mentioned an "estate attorney."  Who retained this attorney (i.e., who is/are the attorney's client(s))?

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We are both listed as co-executors of the state by the court and co trustees of the trust. COT stands for Certification of Trust and in that doc it states that: 

"The signatures of both Trustees are required to transact business on behalf of the trust. If either Trustee fails to serve, the remaining Trustee may serve as the sole Trustee with no need to replace the Trustee that failed to serve."

 

The quote was from the attorney and I included it to make sure I didn't add or take away anything from what I was being told. I don't speak lawyer and did not want to misspeak.

 

The bank issue is just another instance where he thinks he can circumvent the trust. There are accounts in 2 different banks, for bank #1, we both went and signed the account and they were given a copy of the trust requirement and all estate bills are being paid from that account with both of our signatures. Bank #2 on the other hand, allowed him to change the name of the account from my dad's name to the name of the farm. He has been writing checks presumably for the farm operation out of this account without my signature. I haven't approached the bank yet with the paperwork. I did tell them that we are both required to sign checks from any account my father had and asked for a statement of what had been spent to that point. The banker gave me a printout of a list of amounts that had been spent from the account, not a statement so I could see who the checks were made to. Apparently, the banker felt that he should inform my brother that I was requesting a statement. Before I could get home my brother called me and told me I couldn't write checks on that account because it was for farm use only. My answer to that was that I had no way to write checks on that account, that he knew what the trust said about the checking accounts and that  he better hope  he has receipts for every dime he spends. 

 

My parents  hired the estate attorney to draw up the trust and do the wills. He is just the attorney for the estate and cannot represent me or my brother.

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15 hours ago, RebelTeacher said:

My parents  hired the estate attorney to draw up the trust and do the wills. He is just the attorney for the estate and cannot represent me or my brother.

 

Unless things are done very unusually in your unidentified state, lawyers don't represent estates; they represent people (or corporations, etc., but that isn't relevant here).  Just because an attorney prepared the will and trust doesn't necessarily mean he has any involvement after the testator/trustor dies.  In co-executor and co-trustee situations, it is common for a single attorney to represent the co-executors and co-trustees.  In your situation, however, since your brother isn't cooperating and may be committing malfeasance, it is necessary that you retain your own attorney.  Among other things, you need to deal with the things you've described ASAP because, if you don't, your brother's malfeasance could be imputed to you.

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You need to retain the services of an attorney who will represent YOUR interests and who can answer your questions.

 

You have not mentioned what state is applicable here.  You and your brother are eventually going to have to provide an accounting for every account you have managed/handled.

 

Ask your attorney if the will permits an executor to purchase an executor's bond (to protect the financial interest of the beneficiaries from fraud or deception) or whether that requirement is exempt,  and also ask the same question in regards to the trust.  

 

Maybe your attorney can figure out some inducement to persuade brother to go ahead and sign--your brother's excuse that he is scared that you all may be trying to steal his share of the estate is unreasonable and makes one want to question his sanity--I think it's a phony excuse that is not the real reason. Your attorney may want to send brother a letter warning that he could potentially face malfeasance charges if everything is not done correctly.

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