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Declining to be the executor of my parents' estate

pittle

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Years ago when we set up our Trust, the attorney suggested that we not choose either of our children as executor. We did not want to cause any friction, so we chose my brothers. I am the oldest sibling and my youngest brother is 14 years younger than me, so we chose him. The one that is 7 years younger than me would be the successor executor. Now years later, our oldest son is perfectly capable to do this, but we do not want the younger one to think that we favored the older one. It is just better to have their uncle be responsible.
 

Luanne

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Years ago when we set up our Trust, the attorney suggested that we not choose either of our children as executor. We did not want to cause any friction, so we chose my brothers. I am the oldest sibling and my youngest brother is 14 years younger than me, so we chose him. The one that is 7 years younger than me would be the successor executor. Now years later, our oldest son is perfectly capable to do this, but we do not want the younger one to think that we favored the older one. It is just better to have their uncle be responsible.
My parents had my aunt and uncle as executors until my sister and I became adults. I became executor, because I was the oldest. Then later on it was changed to my sister since my mother was living with her. Neither of us ever felt the other was favored.

At some point, as your brothers get older you may want to change yours. My mother was the oldest of three siblings. She outlived both her brother and sister by at least 20 years.
 

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My brother and SIL just completed something similar. She has a brother with some mostly mental disabilities who had been living in the family home. He's about 60 and had awful credit, but disability income and was the beneficiary of a special needs trust when their mom died at 100+ years. But he had to get out of the house so it could be sold to fund the trust, and that was a project.

The easy part was dealing with the boxes of cancelled checks from 1967. The harder part was finding an apartment that would accept him, because of no rental history and poor credit. That was finally accomplished by getting an apartment at a smaller, privately owned building, rather than a huge CorpCo complex. They found him a financial fiduciary who would handle his money, which will eliminate any conflict with his sister, who had been overseeing their mom's affairs, and his too, for years.

I mention these details because I didn't know such people existed, and maybe it'll be useful for your parents or your sister in the future.
 

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Forgive me for intruding on this thread but we've currently been introduced to Estate Planning. One recommendation made to us is the idea of a Living Trust. Might that be something worth considering here but even if not, does anyone here have any experiences with Living Trust(s) that you would share?

I'm just staring to learn about these....
 

Patri

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My brother's affairs are a pain. In his trust is only 1/5 of the house we own. He has 3 accounts which one is a 457 that list myself and siblings and the problem is one sibling passed away a year ago and the money then goes to myself and siblings leaving out my sister n law and her kids.
I do hope you can get the SIL her share, or the rest of you split yours with her. People don't understand covering each family unit.
 

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Years ago when we set up our Trust, the attorney suggested that we not choose either of our children as executor.
I chose my Son as executor but it probably won't matter. There will be no need to probate my estate as all I have are 3 small Bank Accounts and my 2011 Mazda3. My Bank Accounts are all JTWROS and my car title is already signed with instructions to give it to Kars for Kids when I die...

George
 

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We made our girls semi co-trustees. (3 daughters) Daughter #1 is primary financial with Daughter #3 as secondary, Daughter #2 is primary for medical decisions, with Daughter #3 as secondary. Then we spoke to all three of them to explain how we see this working out. Daughter #3 lives furthest away so it made sense. Luckily they all get along so I expect that it will be a collaboration. This year we will be starting annual meetings showing them where the investments are held and any other relevant info.

My husband and his sister are co-trustees of his parents trust. It hasn't been updated since the 80's (they don't want to spend the $$ ugh) and his parents are obsessively private with everything both financial and health related. It will most likely be a treasure hunt when they pass. We have no idea where they bank, where their investments are, or even what they are invested in. Passwords for financial accounts - lolol - no stinkin' way are they telling anyone! My step mother passed away unexpectedly last year. Even though she was fairly organized and my dad was still there to help, it took three days to locate things like the deed to the house, as well as the most current trust document. The attorney was unhelpful. His office seemed to be a trust mill, and when the trustee (her daughter) called him, he had no idea who my step mother was even though her trust document had been updated maybe a year +/- before her death. My step mother's phone that was not password protected was the most helpful item after she passed. She had saved most of her passwords in the apps, so the trustee could get right in to see what was there.
 
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"Roger"

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I haven't been following this thread that closely (my eyes gloss over), but I appear to be the odd man out.

My wife and I appointed a local bank to be our trustee. Yes there is a fee (when the trust is executed), but it is not all that high. We have had experience with both a family member (for my parents) and a bank (for my wife's parents) act as trustees. The latter experience was far better. The former dragged out over months. The latter was carried out far more efficiently. Final medical bills were reviewed with corrections made. Tax forms were handled much better.

Our early experience with the local bank (we transferred executor from a family member) has been positive. Without charge, they reviewed our trust and made a couple of modest suggestions. As we age, they will watch for suspicious money transfers as unscrupulous individuals try to take advantage of our diminished mental capacities.

I am not saying that this is the way to go, but suggest to the op that she at least make an inquiry to see what a local bank (or legal firm) can offer as executors.
 

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Forgive me for intruding on this thread but we've currently been introduced to Estate Planning. One recommendation made to us is the idea of a Living Trust. Might that be something worth considering here but even if not, does anyone here have any experiences with Living Trust(s) that you would share?

I'm just staring to learn about these....
Ours is a Living Trust. We set it up in 1995, and when we moved to Missouri in 2002, we had to make a few changes because of some various laws. We moved to Arizona in 2007 and had read that one from another state would be honored. But, in 2016, we went to an Attorney and had ours updated to make sure that it was current for AZ. We also made a few "tweaks" - mostly with Executor. That was when we changed to my younger brother since he is 9 years older than our oldest son. The grandson is already a Junior in college so, we took out the part about college payments for grandchildren as he is the only one and there will not be more.We also changed our Medical Power of Attorney to our 2 sons and brother if the spouse is not available.

We have a big notebook (3 ring binder) with all the detail, but I have made a "cheat sheet" with the basics that is in a plastic sleeve at the front. It has bank accounts, IRA, medical, and life insurance information. The details are in the tabbed section. We have our house in the trust and it is the secondary beneficiary for everything else. My brother has a digital copy of our Trust but the big notebook is on a bookshelf by my desk and everyone in the family knows that it is there.

It protects you from Probate. You can put assets in and take them out.
 
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pittle

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I chose my Son as executor but it probably won't matter. There will be no need to probate my estate as all I have are 3 small Bank Accounts and my 2011 Mazda3. My Bank Accounts are all JTWROS and my car title is already signed with instructions to give it to Kars for Kids when I die...

George
Our first Attorney told us that even though he was setting this Living Trust up for us, to remember that it was our money to live on and the best thing that could happen would be that the check the estate to pay for the last funeral would bounce! :) He said it was for us to enjoy and to live on and not to scrimp to leave something for the "kids".
 

rapmarks

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A cpa helped settle my in laws estate which was in a living trust.
The financial advisor helped settle my two aunts, which were pod or with beneficiaries.
My mother left all to my sister, with everything co owners or pod.
We never had to go through probate.
We have a living trust. My son steps up as co trustee upon the death of one of us.
 

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Our first Attorney told us that even though he was setting this Living Trust up for us, to remember that it was our money to live on and the best thing that could happen would be that the check the estate to pay for the last funeral would bounce! :) He said it was for us to enjoy and to live on and not to scrimp to leave something for the "kids".
I live in a CCRC. What is sad are the widows and widowers with mucho money who scrimp on everything because they want to leave it to their kids...

George
 

rapmarks

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I live in a CCRC. What is sad are the widows and widowers with mucho money who scrimp on everything because they want to leave it to their kids...

George
Yes,my aunts were that way. Used a teabag for days.
 

linsj

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My wife and I appointed a local bank to be our trustee. Yes there is a fee (when the trust is executed), but it is not all that high.
I'm looking at options for executor and wasn't aware of this one. Do you mind telling us what the fee is?
 

moonstone

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I live in a CCRC. What is sad are the widows and widowers with mucho money who scrimp on everything because they want to leave it to their kids...

George
Yes,my aunts were that way. Used a teabag for days.
There seems to be so many old folk like this. My sister's MiL cried poor after her DH passed away because he had signed for a higher pension with no spousal benefits after he passed away. She would tell my sister and BiL that she didn't have enough money for gas to come to visit or couldn't go grocery shopping until her pension cheque arrived nearly every month. My sister would cook extra meals and take over or my BiL would take her car and fill the gas tank. My sister hated having tea there as she said she never knew how old the tea bags were. When the woman was diagnosed with cancer she told my BiL that there probably wasn't enough money in her bank account to have a funeral so just have her remains cremated. When he was clearing out her condo he came across many bank passbooks that had not been updated in years in addition to her current one. When he took them all to the various banks it ended up that the woman had over a million dollars in savings! After the cremation and associated fees along with the lawyers fees were paid my BiL and his brother each ended up with an inheritance of over $500K. Geesh!


~Diane
 

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We have a big notebook with all the detail...It has bank accounts, IRA, medical, and life insurance information...The big notebook is on a bookshelf by my desk and everyone in the family knows that it is there.
I've modified the above comment just so I can point out that I have done the exact same thing even though I don't have a trust. My "notebook" is actually a 3 ring binder and includes about 35 typewritten 8½ x 11 sheets each enclosed in their own plastic sleeves. Thus if a change is needed, it is a simple matter to replace the old sheet of paper with a new one. Hopefully everything they need to simplify things when I die is in the 3 ring binder. My kids and ex-wife know exactly where it is kept....

George
 

"Roger"

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I'm looking at options for executor and wasn't aware of this one. Do you mind telling us what the fee is?
I don't want to say beyond it is a very small percentage per year. We pay nothing now. If, as we become very elderly and need to be monitored, it is, as I say, a very small percentage. Likewise, when we both die, it would be the same percentage to distribute our estate in accordance with our trust.

My advise is to see if a local bank offers these sorts of services and ask what they charge. You are under no obligation to say yes if it seems to be too much.
 

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I'm looking at options for executor and wasn't aware of this one. Do you mind telling us what the fee is?
When we last updated our own trust a few years ago, our lawyer suggested a bank that would be executor as well as money overseer as long as my sister was still alive. We used Farmers & Merchants, who coincidentally was the only bank who would do an escrow account when we had to pay relocation for a scamming tenant in our guest house.
 

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When my husband’s grandfather died, he left money to my husband’s brother who was a paraplegic. It was left in trust and controlled by a bank. My brother-in-law became adept at investing his own earnings and saw that the bank overseeing the inheritance was earning very little for him. At some point, they were paying themselves more than he was earning, eating into the principle. He complained for years and finally was able to break the trust and handle the money himself. I’m leery of having such an institution handling what we might leave to our daughter and granddaughter.
 
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Icc5

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I do hope you can get the SIL her share, or the rest of you split yours with her. People don't understand covering each family unit.
Problem is it is a large amount and this is a retirement account so taxes need to be paid by each individual (even if we can give from ours it is hard to figure out). There is another account that had only the name of the brother that passed away. That one is a large savings account which then only goes to the SIL. My brother has made it almost impossible to split things evenly though we will have out lawyer try figuring out how we can do this. We have always all agreed we want everything done this way.
 

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I spent 40 hours managing the estate of someone from whom I removed life support. Managing the estate is emotional. If you don’t want to do manage the estate, don’t. Let someone else do it.
 
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VacationForever

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When my husband’s grandfather died, he left money to my husband’s brother who was a paraplegic. It was left in trust and controlled by a bank. My brother-in-law became adept at investing his own earnings and saw that the bank overseeing the inheritance were earning very little for him. At some point, they were paying themselves more than he was earning, eating into the principle. He complained for years and finally was able to break the trust and handle the money himself. I’m leery of having such an institution handling what we might leave to our daughter and granddaughter.
I have explored having a bank be a trustee but have stayed away for the very reason as you have posted here. We have similar concerns with having a licensed private fiduciary be our trustee. We changed our trust a couple of times and in prior versions we had a private fiduciary as a trustee. In the current version, our money will go outright to my son when we both pass instead of going into a trust and managed by a bank or a private fiduciary. We worked in the elder industry for 8 years and saw first hand, bills were not paid or forgotten by the bank and a private fiduciary paying herself huge amount of money until the trust went broke. One client lost power when utilities bills were not paid by the bank.

If I get to my late 70s or 80s, I intend to take a chunk of that and buy annuities for my son so that if poor investment decisions are made and he loses most of the money he will still have annuities continue to take care of him for the rest of his life. I have expressed my wish to my son to continue to have the investments managed by the current wealth management company and for him to not to try to invest the money himself.
 
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"Roger"

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Just a note. Not all banks are the same. In my own case, none of my money is at the bank that would take over the execution of the trust were my wife and I to pass away. As far as the charges, they are so low that it would be virtually impossible for the trust to make less money than the bank charges. Again, our experience with the bank that controlled the execution of my wife's parents trust was nothing but positive.

I have no idea as how best to go about scoping out a particular bank and how it will operate, but don't presume the experience will be negative.
 

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This year we will be starting annual meetings showing them where the investments are held and any other relevant info.
We started this when we turned 70. Parents are so secretive about finances! We wanted our son & daughter to know what was normal so that if our financial abilities fail, they'll know to step in and help. I have a spreadsheet listing all accounts and year-end totals that is updated annually. I also have an orange binder with all relevant end-of-life documents. I even have info and phone numbers for 2 local crematoria/ums.
 

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... our lawyer suggested a bank that would be executor as well as money overseer ...
A local banker was my mother's executor and money manager. She stopped opening her mail, and dividend checks from inherited AT&T stock were ignored. I told the banker the stock certificate should be in her account so the dividends were deposited directly. He walked up the hill to her house for her signature, and it was done. Within a week he sold the stock! It was a catastrophe because 1) grandpa's AT&T was a family legacy to be passed down to my generation, as was specified in her will. 2) capital gains on stock held from 1959 to 1996. He offered to buy the shares back, which wouldn't erase the capital gains. He walked around with his head in his hands, saying, "I should have read the document."

After a bank merger in 2000, my father's trust's objective was mistakenly changed from Conservative to Growth, all utility stocks sold and reinvested. A year later--the dot.com bust. The bank admitted its error, but shrugged. Suing a Vermont bank when you live in California is a nuisance.

Perhaps I sound like a crabby oldster, but I'm done with relying on banks.
 
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