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Will My Brother's $300,000 Debt to Our Mother Die With Her?

MULTIZ321

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Will My Brother's $300,000 Debt to Our Mother Die With Her? - by Quentin Fottrell/ Personal Finance/ Moneyologist/ Market Watch/ marketwatch.com

"Dear Moneyologist,

My brother stole over $336,000 from my parents in the late 1980s. He did this as part of his business as a financial planner/investment consultant. It was part of a $2 million scheme to recover losses after a Black Friday stock market collapse. He was caught and sent to a federal prison camp. He was made to pay restitution. Over the past 20 years he has paid what the judge told him to pay. It is about $100 a month. The way I figure it since the restitution started in 1992 and it is now 2015 that’s 23 years at $1200 a year so he has paid $27,600.

My mother is 98 years old so she is getting near life’s end. Her will splits everything equally between her three children. I believe once mother has passed the restitution stops.

Therefore, he will have an outstanding balance of around $300,000, which is about what the remaining estate has in total. Is there any legal way to make him pay the balance, or are we just left to hope his conscience makes him pay? He has done everything by the books on the restitution, but has put all property, business [he owns some franchise restaurants and apartments], cars, etc. in his wife’s name to avoid paying more than the minimum restitution. So in this case maybe crime does pay. What are your thoughts? ..."


Richard
 

LAX Mom

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I think mother should have changed her will while she was of sound mind and able to do so.
 

newportbeach

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Yours is not the first family this has happened in. What to do:
1.Check with the court restitution office, I see no reason that restitution should end with your mother's death per court order, so seek some clarification.

2.If restitution was ordered years ago it was based upon your brother's then economic status. Ask the restitution office if on behalf of your mother the court
would hold a hearing to raise the monthly amount because your brother has the
ability to pay more based upon his current financial condition. Would an attorney from the district attorneys office possibly represent your mother, and thereby
avoid cash out of pocket for attorneys fees.

3. Check with your remaining other Sibling, and listen to their thoughts and opinions.

4. Consider [edited] forgiveness and avoiding more conflict in the family. I would seriously consider and follow your mother's wishes. She may strongly oppose any more court action involving her son and possibly forgiven him. If that is the case certainly while she is alive is such a circumstance I would do nothing. Upon her death, unity within the remaining children is often times fleeting, and in later years that is a true sadness.

5. Finally after all the above I would consult an attorney in your locality. Ask if the debt owed by your brother would not be a charge against his inheritance.
Have the attorney review your mother's will, and who are the executors, and if
all three of you are co-executors does the decision of the majority control?
 
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friedshrimp

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I am no lawyer but I believe the debt is not erased with the mother's death. I believe the debt is transferred from the mother directly to the mother's estate and consequently to the estate's inheritors. That being said, if the estate is transferred equally, the total debt would be reduced to $200,000 as the son owing the debt would owe $100,000 to each of the other two siblings and $100,000 to himself which is why the debt owed would be $200,000. I would talk with an estate lawyer to get all of the facts though.
 

bogey21

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One of my Sons owes me a couple thousand dollars. I told him and my other kids that if the debt is still outstanding when I die, to just forget it. Nothing is in writing and everyone who counts is aware of what I said. I like to keep things simple thus my estate will be essentially zero any way.

George
 

pedro47

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Suggesttion, I would contact the court and a good estate lawyer. ?
 
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wackymother

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I see that this is an article from a publication, but for anyone who is dealing with similar situations--I just wanted to say that we are currently closing out two estates for family members. I can't stress enough the need for good estate planning and legal advice. Speak to a reputable estate lawyer as soon as possible. Good luck!

Edited to add: I just read the column. Very interesting and sound advice. I'm going to follow the column now! Thanks for sharing, Richard.
 
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Passepartout

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Some of the answers would be dependent on what state the errant brother lives in.

An examination of how 'brother' listed ownership of his assets in the name of his wife and other family members is called for. Could be that it violated state anti-fraud laws if it can be shown to be aimed at side stepping payment of debt.

As stated, competent local counsel is called for. Preferably before 'mom' checks out.

Jim
 

friedshrimp

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One of my Sons owes me a couple thousand dollars. I told him and my other kids that if the debt is still outstanding when I die, to just forget it. Nothing is in writing and everyone who counts is aware of what I said. I like to keep things simple thus my estate will be essentially zero any way.

George

The biggest question is whether the initial debt was put into writing. If so, then even if you said "don't worry about it", the inheritors of the estate can still attempt to enforce it. If the original debt was never put into writing to begin with then it's a moot point and effectively just hearsay.
 

SMHarman

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I love how Richards / MULTI's news clipping is being discussed as if it is HIS light fingered brother.

Sent from my LT26i using Tapatalk
 

lizap

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I strongly agree with no. 4. The money is not worth tearing a family apart.


Yours is not the first family this has happened in. What to do:
1.Check with the court restitution office, I see no reason that restitution should end with your mother's death per court order, so seek some clarification.

2.If restitution was ordered years ago it was based upon your brother's then economic status. Ask the restitution office if on behalf of your mother the court
would hold a hearing to raise the monthly amount because your brother has the
ability to pay more based upon his current financial condition. Would an attorney from the district attorneys office possibly represent your mother, and thereby
avoid cash out of pocket for attorneys fees.

3. Check with your remaining other Sibling, and listen to their thoughts and opinions.

4. Consider [edited] forgiveness and avoiding more conflict in the family. I would seriously consider and follow your mother's wishes. She may strongly oppose any more court action involving her son and possibly forgiven him. If that is the case certainly while she is alive is such a circumstance I would do nothing. Upon her death, unity within the remaining children is often times fleeting, and in later years that is a true sadness.

5. Finally after all the above I would consult an attorney in your locality. Ask if the debt owed by your brother would not be a charge against his inheritance.
Have the attorney review your mother's will, and who are the executors, and if
all three of you are co-executors does the decision of the majority control?
 

am1

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I strongly agree with no. 4. The money is not worth tearing a family apart.

I would say the brother already did that by stealing and now hiding assets. I would be done with him.
 

falmouth3

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One of my Sons owes me a couple thousand dollars. I told him and my other kids that if the debt is still outstanding when I die, to just forget it. Nothing is in writing and everyone who counts is aware of what I said. I like to keep things simple thus my estate will be essentially zero any way.

George

My mother told us the same thing. There was an IOU for the loan when my brother and his wife bought their house, but it disappeared from my mother's safe after her dementia set in. She also "loaned" them several more thousands over the years.

She was on Medicaid when she passed so there is nothing left anyway. She would have been very upset to know that he got more than the rest of her children because she was the type to always be very careful to spend the same amount on Christmas gifts as well as having the same number of gifts for everyone.

He "needed" the money more than the rest of us because he and his wife couldn't handle money well but it's a shame because it goes against my mother's wishes. Such is life.
 

geekette

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He "needed" the money more than the rest of us because he and his wife couldn't handle money well but it's a shame because it goes against my mother's wishes. Such is life.

I'm big on following wishes, that would have bothered me, too, much more than the money, much more than their lazy way of solving money problems by leaching off others. I'm sorry you have a greedy gus in your midst. Please lock up your assets in a trust so that your wishes will be honored without his ability to harangue or trick the kids. Leopards do not change their spots.
 

bogey21

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......She would have been very upset to know that he got more than the rest of her children because she was the type to always be very careful to spend the same amount on Christmas gifts as well as having the same number of gifts for everyone.
When my kids were very young I sat them down and told them that it would be impossible for me to treat them 100% equally. I would help each of them based on their individual needs and the way I perceived they were handling their affairs and managing their lives. They were also told that there would be no inheritance when I died as I planned to die without assets. They are now 43, 35 and 34 and as far as I know none has ever felt short changed or resented anything I did for one of the others.

George
 

cgeidl

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Ask

It has been a long time since the theft of money. Tim has been served and the brother could be asked his opinion of whether he plans to pay back what he owes or feels that any of the remaining estate should be paid to him. If he feels more should eb coming to him see and retain a good estate lawyer. If he does not feel he has more money coming to him have a lawyer document this.
Don't know whether your mother is in good enough health to be asked or not.
My wife's family had four children and one borrowed quite a bit of money in time of need. The family wanted to disregard the money not paid back and to split the estate equally.
In our estate planning we have a son with three children and a daughter with one. The daughter is very well off . We decided to divide our estate 30% to each child and 10% to each grandchild. The effect is to not equally share the estate with each of our children but giving more to the needy family with children who may need future education or personal need money.
 

dioxide45

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One of my Sons owes me a couple thousand dollars. I told him and my other kids that if the debt is still outstanding when I die, to just forget it. Nothing is in writing and everyone who counts is aware of what I said. I like to keep things simple thus my estate will be essentially zero any way.

George

This is how my grandmother did it. She had a book that had everything logged but she asked that the book be burned upon her death. Some family members made out great after they borrowed thousands while the others didn't borrow anything. In the end, it was her wish that the debts be erased and everything split equally after that.
 
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