My grandparents had a $1 million estate. I work about 50 hours a week and still struggle to make ends meet. All of our homes are paid off. My grandma died almost a year ago, and the probate lawyers have been on my mom’s case to collect the necessary documents to settle the estate because the judge is tired of it being on his docket.
The lawyer told me to inform my mom, who is in her 70s, that the judge will send a constable to her door if she does not hurry up and settle the estate. My mom is the executor and gets 80% of the estate, while I get 20%. She is in poor health herself, but has gone on a spending frenzy. She bought herself an expensive car and has done a ton of remodeling on her home.
When I asked what happened to one of the bank accounts with half a million in it, she said, “I spent it.” I asked what she spent it on, and she said, “Grandma’s bills, and some other stuff.” She has a shopping addiction. If I ask for any money, she gets irate and tells me that I work, and makes digs at my husband and me.
She is dragging her heels on carrying out her duty, and I worry there won’t be any of my inheritance left. What can I do? Should I call our lawyers back? Can she get into trouble? I wouldn’t want this, but as a disabled person who works three jobs and still struggles to support her four kids, we definitely could use our cut.
Waiting for Mom
Your mother has no legal right to spend money from your grandmother’s estate, or delay indefinitely probate on her estate. In fact, she has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries, and you can petition the probate court to compel her to start probate, or remove her as executor. She has proven herself unwilling and/or incapable of performing her duties.
Most courts require a probate bond, which acts as an insurance policy against the executor of a will or an administrator of an estate misappropriating funds. “All probate bonds basically ‘guarantee’ that any outstanding debts of the estate will be satisfied and all remaining assets will be distributed as per the deceased’s wishes, or based on state law,” according to Lissner & Lissner LLP.
Legal intervention will help your mother. Shopping addiction is often a way for people to avoid feeling anxiety or sadness, but it only works for a short period of time, so it becomes a …….