Being the executor of an estate is a big responsibility. The person in this role will be required to make financial decisions and manage an estate until it has been distributed. If an estate plan is fairly simple and straightforward, it can be a little easier for a person to serve as the executor. But when strange, complex, unpopular or unclear terms must be carried out by an executor, the job can quickly get complicated and legal complaints can be raised.
For instance, the executor of an estate in another state has recently been sued by a woman who is claiming the executor has failed to distribute $100,000, as directed in a woman’s will. The recipient of that $100,000 is the late woman’s dog.
In accordance with the decedent’s will, a trust fund was set up with $100,000 to pay for her pet dachshund’s needs in the event of her death. The woman also named an executor and granted stewardship of the dachshund to her friend.
In the years since the woman passed away, the caretaker of the dog claims that she has received a very small portion of the amount that she should have received for the dog’s needs. And when the dog needed surgery that cost nearly $6,000, the caretaker paid for it herself and then received a reimbursement check from the executor, which bounced.
While the surgical expenses were ultimately sorted out, the caretaker still has concerns that the money in the trust fund is being mismanaged and she has filed a lawsuit.
The executor maintains that the terms of the estate and trust have been fulfilled and that legal intervention is unnecessary.
It will be interesting to see how this case is resolved. In the meantime, however, this case can be a powerful reminder to people right in here in Miami that problems can and do arise when it comes to the task of administering a trust or other element of an estate. These disputes can stem from jealously, anger, resentment or distrust between an executor and those who are affected by the estate plan.
In order to resolve these disputes, it can be crucial for the parties involved to have legal representation. With the help of an estate planning attorney, arguments can be resolved and settlements can be reached in a fair, timely and legally appropriate manner.