Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in North Carolina

My grandpa controls my deceased dads estate he is refusing to pay my phone bill. He says he has to run all bills by the Clerk of court is this true?

Asked on 10/19/13, 7:18 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Why does being an executor of your father's estate have anything to do with paying your phone bills?

The job of of the executor is to figure out what your father owned, what he owed, pay any claims against the estate and turn over what is left to the heirs. Paying your phone bill does not get factored into this equation because your phone bill is not a proper debt of the estate. Nor are any of your other bills. So there would be no need for your grandfather to run anything by the clerk of court.

How old are you? Did your father have a will? When did your father die? Was an estate probated and administered?

Without knowing all of the facts, if you are under 18, then you are a minor. In which case no money or any other property of your father's estate could be turned over to you upon completion of the estate. If there is a lot of money (over $1500) then the money either has to be given to your guardian (who would have to post a bond) or else your share of your father's estate would be paid to the clerk of court and the clerk will not release any of the money until you turn 18.

The money is not there to pay your bills. You or your guardian are responsible for your own living expenses.

The way to have avoided all of this would have been for your father to make a will and create a trust for you. He could have made your grandfather or someone else a trustee to manage the money and could have drafted the trust in such a way as to allow the guardian discretion in determining which of your bills are paid.

If you are not a minor and the estate is still being administered, then the executor cannot release any funds to you until the estate is settled. However, nothing precludes an executor from making an early distribution of property provided there are sufficient assets in the estate. Any early distributions made before the final accounting is filed and confirmed by the court is done at risk. You do not indicate what assets are in the estate or where we are at in terms of the administration so I don't know whether an early distribution is necessary or if you can just wait. Again, the executor does not need to run anything by the clerk. Early distributions are within the power of the executor.

I suspect that your grandfather is not being truthful with you or else he is ignorant of the facts - there is no reason to run anything by the clerk. I would get a copy of the estate file if an estate is pending and have the file reviewed by a probate attorney who practices in the county/state where the estate is or would be pending. Pay the attorney to review the file and give you proper legal advice. If you are a minor then your guardian will have to do this.

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Answered on 10/19/13, 11:25 am

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