[m-w] Latest

  • From: Kathi Pieper <kathi.pieper@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: m-w@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2009 12:19:29 -0600

I received the email from Mike advising how long probate takes and how much
it costs.  I replied to everyone, I think, that the information I found
indicated that if there was a will and not a lot of debt that needed to be
dealt with that the process is fairly straightforward and should not be very
difficult to achieve.  From what I understand, Mom had no debt.  So that
leaves assets to be inventoried and dealt with.

I do not know what was discussed/done when Sandy and Karen were in Houston,
even though I have asked several so far.  I don't think anybody should be
going to the probate office until all agree on how the estate is going to be
handled - sell the house? how are contents being handled? what is being done
with the van?, etc.  I don't think agreement will be reached without
communication.

I also received the note from Mike advising that he is somewhat irritated at
the lawyer's behavior and I replied directly to Mike on issues in that
email. I will share below most of the contents of that email.

First - Who is Joe the lawyer?  Are we paying him? If we are paying him, he
is working for the six kids and should only be communicating to us. Is he a
probate attorney?  It is not seeming so since Mike indicated that Joe wants
to put the house in either Mike's name or all of our names.  I contacted an
attorney here who is not familiar with Texas law but did state that he felt
it would be almost impossible to change the deed on the house until this
goes through the probate court and obtains a judge's order transferring the
house to the 6 of us (or permitting us to sell it and divide the proceeds
among all).  From the discussion - there are two ways to structure the
ownership of the house - separate share of the property that can be sold, or
interest in the property that can only be sold as part of the whole. I'm
sure there is a lot more detail on that.

The attorney advised that there is no question who the house belongs to -
effective the moment of Mom's death, we all equally share in the ownership
of the house and things should not be done without all parties agreement.
So, if there are property taxes to be paid, we are going to have to pay them
out of the estate.  The discussion of costs during the probate process need
to be discussed.

Who should be the executor of the estate?  I don't know.  I do know that I
want detailed, equitable explanations of any and all distributions, making
certain that everybody is being dealt with in the same fashion and shared
equally by all.  I was less than thrilled with the lack of detail that
accompanied the funds that have already been distributed and have some
questions on it. I am not saying that I don't think it was done right - just
that I am more detail oriented than that.  I don't have the college degree
or background or experience with such matters, but do like details and
explanations.  With all that said, I would vote for me to be the executor or
have an attorney who corresponds with all of us and not just the executor -
which is very typical and has not happened this far.  From what I have been
told, only two trips to the courthouse should be necessary - at the
beginning and at the end - so it could be done by anyone.

I also mentioned to Mike that I would offer to do Mom's taxes.  I may be
oversimplifying it, but she only had some interest income and Social
Security so I don't think it would take but a few hours.

So, that is today's two cents from me.  I don't think there should be any
question in anyone's mind on what Mom's wishes were.  She plainly stated
what she wanted and I guess skipped the step of naming an executor.  I
assumed Mike was the executor and that is was stated in the will, but I
guess the reference to Mike was as a beneficiary.  One might surmise that it
was Mom's wish that Mike was executor since she did that beneficiary form -
whatever.  I don't care who it is but I do want to be kept informed and I
want details.

Waiting to see if I hear from anyone this time

Kathi

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