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DREDGE

Confused with Aunt's will.

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I am from Tennessee as was my late aunt. Her daughter was trustee of her will. She came to my house some 90 miles from her own and the city in which my aunt lived to give me the money my aunt left for me. She brought the 1st 2 pages of the will and stated she was just bringing the pages which had my name and my aunt's bequest for me. The will stated I was to receive $2,500. My aunt left my partner $2,500 which her daughter brought for him. The will also stated 1 of her nieces was to receive $2,500. All of the family thought it was strange my aunt left me only $2,500 as she told everyone I was just like a beloved son to her. My aunt had also voiced this to me as we talked every Saturday on the phone had many person to person visits and took vacations together at times. i had been a prominent part of her life over all my years. The niece was far removed but sent her cards during the year and visited her once since 1960. I guess I feel something is amiss. What I and my partner received were photo copies. Thoughts anyone? I know nothing about proper disposition of a will. Thank you. Dredge

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DREDGE said...

Her daughter was trustee of her will.

The person who administers a trust is called a trustees. The person who administers the estate of a deceased person is called an executor or administrator or personal representative. That person is appointed by the court. A will often nominates one or more persons to serve as executor/co-executors, but they don't actually hold that position until appointed by the court.

DREDGE said...

Thoughts anyone?

Your post doesn't raise any legal issue. You wouldn't be the first person to receive less that what you were expecting from a deceased person's will. You are, however, free to ask your cousin for a copy of the full will or to obtain a copy from the probate court (if probate actually has been filed or the will was otherwise deposited with the court).

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One cannot be trustee of a will, but personal representative or executor. No biggie.

"Thoughts anyone?"

This is an awfully vague question, but whatever your aunt said to you doesn't mean in the end she didn't decide to give all nieces-nephews X. For all you know, she knew she'd use up most of her assets by X point, or figured she would only have X to divvy up; it may well be true that the "residue" of her estate was quite large, but she left it to X person.

You're free to check with the relevant probate court to get a copy of the will, which is a matter of public record. If you have reason to believe it was tampered with or her signature forged, etc., feel free to contact a local estate-probate attorney about whether there's still time to contest.

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Something might be amiss, or her daughter may have been acting out of ignorance about proper probate procedure. First check at the county courthouse probate court to find out for sure whether the will was filed for probate or not (and it probably wasn't, because if it had been filed she would have been legally required as executrix to mail you a copy of the entire will). Then, when you find out it hasn't been filed, then send her a certified letter asking for a copy of the entire will. Then when she doesn't respond to your request within 7 days, you can then write her a letter advising her that she has committed a legal error in not filing the will in probate court, where a public notice could have then been issued so that creditors could file a claim if there are any outstanding debts, and then the designated heirs/beneficiaries would receive a payout after the debts were paid. She needs to then consult with a probate attorney to find out what steps she can take to resolve her error. She had no legal authority to distribute any assets until she received letters testamentary document from the probate court authorizing her to act in such capacity. Or she may have felt that according to the filing requirements for your state, that the assets were not sufficient enough to require filing, but most counties have procedures for smaller estates, so she should have filed anyway. And don't spend all of the money you have received until you get permission from executrix that it is okay for you to do so, if you are not required to return some or all of it to the estate for probate proceedings.

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i guess what i wanted to know from someone smart enough to answer, was-does she have to take the will to a court or not. frankly the remark about me not being the 1st person to not get what they thought they should have, really wasn't necessary by whomever wrote it. i really didn't expect anything, but expected at least a $1 more than the niece and my partner. i feel she brought a manufactured/tampered copy and inserted the amts she wanted and has the true will elsewhere and i needed to know what the procedure would be for her regarding having to take the will to court to satisfy whatever the state tn might require. i guess i can go to the court and view it in its entirety IF she to take it to the court. Does she?

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DREDGE said...

i guess what i wanted to know from someone smart enough to answer, was-does she have to take the will to a court or not.

If you google "when is probate required in tennessee," you can get an abudance of information. Generally, if your aunt owned titled assets (e.g., a house or car), it is almost impossible to get those assets out of her name without probate. It would not be necessary "to take the will to a court" otherwise.

DREDGE said...

frankly the remark about me not being the 1st person to not get what they thought they should have, really wasn't necessary by whomever wrote it.

That's certainly true. It also wasn't "necessary" for any of us to take time out of our busy days to try and help you. I was trying to illustrate why your post doesn't appear to raise any legal issue. Sorry if you took it the wrong way. :-)

DREDGE said...

i really didn't expect anything, but expected at least a $1 more than the niece and my partner.

Please understand that this statement is internally contradictory.

DREDGE said...

i feel she brought a manufactured/tampered copy and inserted the amts she wanted and has the true will elsewhere and i needed to know what the procedure would be for her regarding having to take the will to court to satisfy whatever the state tn might require. i guess i can go to the court and view it in its entirety IF she to take it to the court. Does she?

Seems to me that, if she is sufficiently pernicious to forge and alter a will, she may not have any qualms about presenting the forged/altered document to a court. . . . Keep in mind also that she could simply have destroyed the will, which would leave you with nothing and her with everything (since, under the intestate law, the entire estate goes to the surviving child when there is no surviving spouse and only one surviving child). Query what you think her motive would be to alter the distribution of assets between you and other nieces/nephews (rhetorical question).

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pg 1067, I did not ask you personally, to answer anything I have asked. This was your choice. Perhaps during your boring day, you get pleasure from insulting those of us instead of "helping" us. If this is how you spend your time, you're not so busy. However, you look at it, I would have welcomed a polite answer. Not only were you rude to me, but the other man before me, as well. Just so you know I know...the last sentence you wrote makes little sense and your vocabulary isn't even worded properly.

[This post has been moved to the appropriate discussion. - Moderator]

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####, I understand your confusion sir. I am almost going through the same thing currently. My father passed recently, and while I am not dealing with a will, instead I am dealing with trust funds. I have already dealt with what your dealing with and can offer you this.

If a person dies, In ANY state in the country, If they have a last will and testament, It must be filed with the probate court in the county where the recently departed lived. Also the Death certificate must also be filed. This is public record, as is anything that deals with probate. The probate clerk in the county courthouse will require ID to prove whom they giving the info too, Also they will let you view the will, or any paperwork in the open case once it is filed. But if you wish to make a copy, you will have to pay for that. Rate will vary depending on the court house. Also, if the death is recent, in most states the person handling the will, has 30 days to file the will with the court. So may want to take that into count if the departed died recently. I really hope this helps you. And dont worry about PG, I had a thread opened, and he didnt answer any of my questions but instead made insults, I realized with my 3 months into handling my own issues, I have more knowledge then most on here do. Not saying all on here are bad.

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"If a person dies, In ANY state in the country, If they have a last will

and testament, It must be filed with the probate court in the county

where the recently departed lived."

As a blanket statement, that is incorrect. If there is no need to open a probate estate, there is no reason to file the will. Also, if the estate qualifies for a small estate process, it may not be necessary to file the will.

"Also, if the death is recent, in most states the person handling the will, has 30 days to file the will with the court."

To be more accurate, most states have statutes requiring the custodian of the will to deposit the will with the court. However, these statutes are "swords" to be unsheathed if the custodian of the will is refusing to deposit the will with the court. Time limits for admitting a will for probate vary widely by state. From one year in Missouri to four years in Texas to twenty years in Ohio to forever in some states.

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