Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Virginia

Estate Executor Obligations

My uncle (age 54) moved from Va. to Fla. to care for his elderly mother. He became co-owner of her checking and savings accounts and was to be the executor of her will. She also owned a couple of properties in Fla. A few months prior to her death, he moved with her, back to Va. She had a will dividing her assets equally among her 4 offspring. After her death, he drew up a legal document offering the other 3 siblings $20K each and stated that they relinquished their right to examine bank records, and they would be liable for his legal expenses if they pursued legal measures against him. They (all in their late 60's and early 70's) were intimidated and signed the paper. The question is whether he carried out his duties as executor, legally, and what investigative agency would look into this if there is a criminal or civil breach of conduct?

Asked on 1/16/03, 4:56 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Gonzalez Edward Gonzalez, PC

Re: Estate Executor Obligations

You need to consult with an attorney, and provide much more information and documentation, before you can get a worthwhile answer. Based upon the limited facts you give, generally, your uncle, as executor owed a "fiduciary" duty to all the beneficiaries of the will (his siblings) to implement the terms of the will and do so fairly. I have no idea what this "legal document" is that he had them sign. However, if they did so under "duress," and they can prove it, the document would be null and void. There would be civil claims by the beneficiaries against him. Criminal charges, and prosecution by the state, also depend on the facts. You need to consult an attorney and discuss this in depth.

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Answered on 1/17/03, 10:30 am

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