Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in North Carolina

A dad died 9 years ago, mom was executor and beneficiary. Mom never closed out the estate. She passed away 2 years ago and there are 4 siblings now in her will with brother as POA and executor that was badly mismanaged and there are extensive liens on the property. Dad's part of the estate was now taken over by the courts as was mom's apparently. The court appointed lawyer has not answered inquiries made by the 3 sisters, one of whom lives in the house and 2 that lives out of state.There has been no information for 5 months and What are the right for these sisters? The brother has signed notorized paper saying he is excluded from any inheritance. How does this proceed?

Asked on 4/04/12, 12:19 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

I don't know why your mother never closed out the state. If she was ill or unable to handle it, then why could your mother not resign and left one of the children handle it? And why, after your mother died, did you let a public administrator be appointed? Why did not one of the sister's apply and get their own estate attorney t help them complete the estate?

Public administrators are not there to help the beneficiaries. Their job is to pay off any bills for each estate and transfer the assets to the beneficiaries. Since your mother died, the assets technically will have to go to mother's estate.

I don't know what the brother did, but POA ended upon death. However, the other beneficiaries may be able to go after the brother if he caused a loss to the estate through his mismanagement. I cannot comment upon whatever the brother has. The only documents that are relevant regarding disinheritance are the wills, if any, of your parents. The brother cannot "disinherit" himself from your parents' property. While your brother can renounce his right to inherit from either of your parent's estates, to be valid, that renunciation has to be in a form that is in conformity with federal and state law and must be filed within 9 months' of death. If your brother did not do that then the disclaimer may not be valid.

You do not indicate where your parents lived or where there estates are pending. My advice would be for the 3 siblings othrer than your brother to get together and and decide among them which of the 3 is best suited to handling the estate. That person should hire a lawyer to petition for removal of the public administrator and to complete the administration of the estate.

I would only do this is there is going to be a payoff or benefit. You indicate that the estate is encumbered by liens. Are any of these Medicaid liens? What is the total value of the estate? The total value of the liens? If the liens outweigh the assets, the liens generally have to be paid if they are proper claims against the estate and were timely filed. If Medicaid or other liens will eat up the estate, then it will be of little use to hire an attorney as you and your siblings will not receive anything from the estate. Any land will be sold and the proceeds used to satisfy the liens. I don't know where the property is located so that may have some bearing on its value and how quickly it can be sold.

You still may want to consult with a probate lawyer in the county/state where your parents' estates are pending and pay the lawyer for an hour or two of time to review the estate file and apprise you of your rights so that you can get your questions addressed.

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Answered on 4/04/12, 4:57 pm

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