Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 2 months ago

Can an executor exclude siblings from a will?

My mother is 92 years old, blind, has cognitive deficiencies.

--She is still the payee for my 65-year-old brother who still lives with her. She can no longer fulfill the responsibilities of a payee, may have to be reported to the SSA. 

--The main issue is this: they both live in our eldest sister's house, occupy the first-floor unit. Mother refuses to be evaluated, neither cognitively nor physically, even after she broke her nose after a fall she sustained while under the influence of alcohol. Our eldest sister is 71 years old, their relationship is strained. 

--As per the 71-year-old sibling, a will might have been one done in CT years ago, but purports to have no recollection as to when or who the executor might be, or where the will might have been filed.

--This same 71-year-old sibling claims to have a "vague recollection" to have had her name added to mother's bank account, so presumably she would have full access to it after mother's passing. According to this sibling: "as per mother's wishes, all funds in that account must go to our disabled brother" Mother has no assets other than a relatively large bank account. 

---Questions: if no will, does the bank just grant full access to the eldest daughter? If there is a will, can it just be ignored and all eldest daughter collects the entire amount? How can I find out of there IS in fact, a will? I am the youngest of mother's five children, have no clue about these things. Can you please advise? 

7 Answers

  • Judith
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Re her being a payee for her son - someone else in the family who is a responsible person needs to contact SS to file to be made payee for both her AND the son.  If that person doesn't want to be payee for both then that person can make arrangements with some other relative as to who will file to be payee for who.

    When it comes to processing the payee application for the mother, SS will contact her physician for a statement on form SSA-786 or SSA-787 (forget which but you can check it out online and download it if you like).

    If the daughter and mother have a joint account then of course the daughter has access.  Legally it is just as much her account as the mothers.  She can withdraw every single penny in the account if she wants to without breaking any laws.

    As for a will, apart from contacting every single attorney in town, there isn't one or there might as well not be one for all the good it would do anyone.

    Also if there is no will, then state law applies as to how proceeds from an estate are divided.  Look it up for your state.

  • 2 months ago

    Wills are not filed until the person dies. It might be sitting in some drawer somewhere, maybe in a lawyers office. Usually, only the ORIGINAL will can be probated. It might be a civil violation to hide a will after a person dies. 

    Reading a book like “probate for dummies” might be a good idea. I might suggest a *serious* family conference, maybe with an elder law lawyer.

  • 2 months ago

    If her name is on the account, then the money is hers.  Now it's legally hers, certainly once mom dies.  Will cannot be ignored, but again, fi the account has her name on it, it may be outside a will.  If no one has a hard copy of a will, then no way to know.  Ask mom.  

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    If there is no Will, if there is no surviving spouse, the estate is divided equally among the surviving children.  That's CT law.

    A Will would be filed with the local Surrogate Court.  If your mother is not mentally fit she cannot write a new Will.  It's just that simple.

    I realize this is all foreign to you.  Consult with an attorney NOW.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    They will just comply with whatever the dying person wants.

  • 2 months ago

    If your sister was added to her mother's bank account, she would have full access after your mother dies.  Generally considered an excellent idea by the way.  Even covering funeral expenses is hard without access to cash. 

    If she is not on the bank account, too late to be added now.  Neither will your mother be able to make a new will.  You have to be in full possession of your faculties to do either of those things.

    To your questions; if there is no will AND your sister is not on the bank account, the estate has to be distributed according to the intestacy rules of your state.   That would probably mean dividing the account between all five of you although obviously you can all decide to give up your share so that everything goes to your disabled brother.  In that situation, nobody gets access to the bank account until the court has probated the estate which will take months.  Your sister cannot be executor if there is no will.  How do you find out whether there is a will?  A will is not a public document until the person dies when it gets filed at the court.  If your sister does not have it, it probably does not exist. 

    But whether your mother has a will or not, it sounds as if your elder sister is housing both your mother and brother which is heroic.  She plans to pass everything she can to your disabled brother which is what your mother wishes.  I'm not understanding where your problem lies.  This all seems good.  You are lucky to have such a great sister.

  • 2 months ago

    Hard to advise considering all of the irrelevant stuff in your post. How is the SSA alternate payee relevant to the location of the will? How is what floor they live on relevant to anything? How is the "vague recollection" relevant to anything? If the will can't be found she will be deemed to have died intestate, most likely, and the laws of intestacy will govern. Gitcha one of them "legal treatise" thingies concerning wills, trusts, and estates for your state and readya some. Google [your state] code and readya some. Go to court and ask if they have a probate procedure handout. Like wow. Seems obvious.

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