My aunt took over the ability of legal professional for my grandmother and the executor of my grandfather’s $ 1.three million property from me. Ought to I return the favor?

Dear Quentin,

My grandfather recently passed away, and my grandmother was declared so mentally deficient that her insurance paid for full-time care in a care facility.

After my grandfather died, their only surviving child, my aunt, was upset with me during the last planning meeting at the funeral home.

I’ve been the executor for nearly 20 years and I’ve also been hired by Grandpa to plan his funeral details, which he paid for before his death.

“I’ve been the executor for almost 20 years and I’ve also been hired by Grandpa to plan his funeral details.”

Since then, my aunt has dismissed me as executor and joint power of attorney. I didn’t know about this until a chance meeting with a family member today.

To the best of my knowledge, there is approximately $ 1.3 million in net worth, most of which is from a living trust, and the family home which is under contract.

I am of the opinion that the power of attorney, the enforcement and possibly the will could not be changed due to Grandma’s mental state.

I’m not sure if I need to talk to a lawyer about it now or after Grandma’s death, or if it will really matter in the end as I believe trust is the greatest amount and is set in stone.

I don’t want to fight for a few thousand dollars or lose the time I have with Grandma.

Your thoughts are appreciated.


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Dear grandson,

I think you should make two calls: one to your family’s lawyer to verify this relative’s account is correct, and one to your aunt to settle disputes you had at the funeral and to discuss your joint responsibilities. Don’t make that second call until you know all the facts and your options. It is better to make your intentions known and explain your reasoning before taking any action to avoid escalating an already tense situation.

You have to apply to the court to change the executor without the assistance of the existing executor, and so I doubt the accuracy of this family member’s testimony. “Gathering this evidence requires testimony, experts such as accountants, interrogators, interviewing witnesses, subpoenaed documents, and evidence presented under the Rules of Evidence and subject to the executor’s objections,” according to guidelines from Klenk Law, a boutique real estate law firm.

“The power of attorney gives someone the keys to the house – and the bank accounts.”

“Just being angry with the executor is not enough,” says Peter Klenk. “You need to provide the judge with a basis for removal.”

Reasons for the elimination include friction between co-executors, failure to comply with the provisions of will, failure to cooperate with an important party or a beneficiary, neglect or mismanagement of estate assets, misconduct, proprietary trading, abuse of discretion, misappropriation of funds, hostility towards heirs and breach of fiduciary duty, he says. And yes, it works both ways.

The power of attorney gives someone the keys to the house – and the bank accounts. “The POA is indeed the most abused estate document in relation to theft,” writes Ken Russell, partner at Baratta, Russell and Baratta. He recommends a provision that requires the POA to provide detailed updates and documentation on all recent activities. It can’t prevent financial abuse, but it could stop the POA from acting ruthlessly. Gather information first – and act later based on what you find.

Ultimately, I advise against both being inactive and underestimating the value of either role.

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