my mother suddenly passed away with a will which was done years ago. Iam primary personal rep & my brother is listed as the other personal rep. he has been estranged from my mom & I 8-10 yrs. I had to make funeral arrangements, contact debtors, sell her car, put her house on the market, clean out the house, did repairs & pay for numerous expenses out of pocket etc by myself & when i have to contact him for paperwork that needs to be signed etc, he has told me iam just sitting back waiting for my money, how cold is that. my questions are, is there anything i can do so he doesn't collect half of her estate? my mom had a checking acct & my name is also on her acct, am i entitled to get reimbursed from estate for paying her mortgage, utilities etc since her death? can i get reimbursed from estate for all time spent cleaning out her house & doing repairs?am i responsible for getting her income taxes done for 2010? thank you
2 Answers from Attorneys
I am sorry to hear of the loss of your mother.
Expenses of administering the estate (like paying mortgage and utilities) are considered estate expenses. All of these should come out of an estate checking account if possible. That being said, the estate may reimburse for certain funeral and administration expenses paid out of pocket. Time spent on administrative matters (like cleaning out the house, etc.) will not be paid on an hourly rate, but the personal representative is entitled to a commission for handling the estate (this is a statutory percentage based on the total amount of estate assets).
All of these administration expenses must be properly documented and submitted to the court. Yes, the personal representative must also take care of any income tax returns of the decedent. I strongly encourage you to seek legal help with the estate administration. You are welcome to call my firm at 410-216-7000 (no cost initial 10 min phone consultation) or another attorney practicing this type of law in Maryland. Because there are timelines in handling estate matters you may want to seek advice sooner rather than later.
1. The account that shows you as a co-owner is yours by operation of law. The titling of the account controls over the contents of your mom's WILL.
2. You can be reimbursed for your out of pockets that are estate expenses ie the funeral, paying debt for estate assets ie the mortgage. That reimbursement is shown on the final accounting. But as soon as possible you should open an estate account.
3. House cleaning is a different issue as the register of wills around the state view that differently.
My firm provides help with probate matters on a daily basis. We provide representation to at least 40 estates every year. The estates are all over Maryland. Feel free to contact me at 410-901-1333 for assistance. Thanks. Richard Abraham