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I recently became executrix after my sibling who was executor died. I have one area that is causing me issues and I need advice. My father set up for a family property property that has been passed down, to be given to all 3 of us kids - no persturpies to others, it is just left to us 3. Now one of us as has died leaving two. Legally it will pass to us two. However....and here is the crux of the problem.....the property bills (power, taxes, upkeep) has been paid for equally between the 3 of us for years (about $400 per year each), our dad has been unwilling to give it to us before death due to vast increase in taxes. Ok, so my brother died 2 years ago and his wife keeps paying his share of upkeep -not knowing that she will not inherit it. And she has been the one keeping the books all these years as her husband was Executor. Now that I am Executrix I told my dad that he needed to talk to her and tell her of the situation and take back all the bills and pay them himself or he can bill us 2 remaining on his own. But that if he continued to allow her to pay and not inherit, he is opening his Trust up to a lawsuit upon his death. He talked to her but only to have the bills transferred to me. :( He refuses to address it and says it will be up to me and my remaining brother, when he passes, to decide if we want to "cut her out" or give her my deceased brothers portion. :( I will add he has been insanely generous with her and all her kids in the Trust and they are likely getting more than my brother and I because her husband was the favorite (lest you think they will be out in the cold, she is a lawyer and they are all very well off). He says he wants us all to get along and be harmonious but this is setting me up for failure. Honestly, I refuse to bill her for the property and we owe her for about $800 each for what she has overpaid the last two years since my brothers death. How do I explain when she does not get a bill from me? CAN I explain it to her? Is that proper or legal? I am caught between a rock and a hard place because my dad won't take care of it.

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The term "per stirpes" means "by the roots" or "by the stock"; in a will or trust, the term means that the share of a person named in the will or trust passes to their descendants should the named person not be alive at the time of death of the testator or grantor of the trust, as the case may be, or at some other point of distribution as set out in the document. The descendants share as follows: equally to the children, with a then-deceased child's share passing equally to their children, etc. It's like the branching of tree roots, hence the latin name.

You say that "legally" the property will pass to the surviving children. I assume you mean that this is what the will or trust actually says. If so, then you are correct that your sister-in-law will receive no share of the property upon your father's death (unless, of course, he changes his will/trust).

Finally, you indicate you are the executor. Of your father's estate? If he is still living, there is no estate and no one is executor until he dies and the court appoints an executor of the estate. Perhaps you mean he set up a living trust, which has named trustees, not executors.
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Here are some things that are puzzling me with your question

An Executor is someone who is in charge of administering a Last Will and Testament, so if your father is still alive neither your brother, or now you, are in charge of anything in that capacity.

If you are referring to your deceased brother acting as POA (rather than executor) for your father by administering the trust then SIL should not have been involved at all, you should have assumed those duties as soon as your brother died, but if your father still has mental capacity why was he not managing his own affairs?

I don't understand why the future beneficiaries have been paying the expenses of the trust, the assets within the trust should have been used for any expenses, especially when there is no guarantee that any of you will live to inherit.
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As long as took over for her deceased husband and she's been paying the bill on this trust, his share should automatically go to her since she is his widow, especially since she's invested so much. I say just give her his share after all this. Her for everything she's paid when she took over when he died, she deserves something from the deal. If you don't want to give her his portion, at least refund her money with interest added for her efforts including bookkeeping. She put forth an effort, a huge effort. Do the right thing and reward her, give her something for all that work because she deserves a huge reward and utmost respect
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Executrix is a word, albeit a slightly quaint one. It is the correct feminine form of the noun executor.

Per stirpes is the term, very lucidly explained by our friendly lawyer on the forum (thank you!).

The headline question is whether it would be proper for the OP to discuss this situation with her late brother's widow. Unless the OP feels that she has some formal duty of confidentiality to her father - and since she isn't acting in a professional capacity why would she have - I can't see why she shouldn't clarify the situation to her SIL, and ensure that any money SIL paid for the upkeep of a property to which she can expect no title in future is repaid to her.

I would add that the family member in the question is not so much "confused" as deceived - and that certainly cannot be allowed to continue.
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Your brother's share would go to his inheritors , ie. wife and children, automatically.Your lawyer sister in law already knows that which is why she is still paying her portion This is how your father intended it to be and you must respect his wishes.
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It doesn't matter where you post, in my experience. Bumping this up.

Can you consult the lawyer who drew up the trust/will?

Does the will address the issue of " what if one of the heirs dies"? Most wills do. If your father is instructing you as executrix to act contrary to what the will currently states, he needs to get to the lawyer to make a codicil.
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I missed that your SIL is a lawyer, surely she would have a better understanding of the legal implications of the wording of the trust than you do? It almost sounds as though even your father didn't understand all the implications of his own trust and rather than dealing with it he is putting the burden on his heirs to hash things out after he is gone. And since there is really no reason for confidentiality since she has essentially been administering it all this time and she must have seen the documents, perhaps it is time for a family conference with all the parties involved to hash out the true intent from what is actually written and to clear up any misunderstandings.
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I urge you to speak with the lawyer that drew up this trust, this strikes me as wrong in so many ways....
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If dad is still alive, there can be no "executor" of his property.

If dad -as the settlor - transferred property & other assets to a trustee by doing a trust then its the Trustee that holds those assets for the trusts. The trust is its own legal entity & should continue to exist whether dad is alive or dead, that's often why it's done as its outside of probate as its not an asset of the estate. It is the trustee(s) who manage whatever is in the "trust".

so who is the trustee?
The management & costs of whatever is the trust is their concern.

Just a thought...is this a "trust" that is actually in dads will...??, that somehow when he finally dies, & IF he leaves his will as written & IF still owns the property at death that it goes to his heirs as a trust created in his will? & clever dad has convinced his "heirs" to basically pay the costs for property that he still actually owns & has total control over..... IF is the situation, imo your being played & if so, this could be a reason why dad won't arrange for you to speak with the atty. Now being played isn't always a bad thing, but runs risk which most of us avoid.
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I am not understanding why you cannot get with the lawyer who drew all this up for a year? Even if he is out of town, seems you could get Dad and you, at least together, and have a phone conference, as to what all this means legally at this time. And I do think, as others have said, you cannot be executor of anything until Dad has died. I have been both POA for both my parents and trustee of two trusts...a living trust and a charitable trust. I am the only child remaining. The trust does contain, now, my Mom's will and wishes, as my Dad passed on a year ago, and trust was then revised. But I am not in charge of anything except keeping her money in order, and handling her medical and other decisions now that she has alzheimer's, as I was for my dad til he passed. I am not executor until Mom passes, though I am listed as such in the will that is part of the trust. And, yes, in our case, all expenses associated with the trust comes out of the trust...which mostly affects the charitable remainder trust in our case. Mom's will clearly states how any left over property and money are to be disbursed, and my dead brother's son IS listed as receiving proceeds in the end, but at a different % as my two daughters due to the understanding that our daughters have consistently been involved in helping with their grandparents care all these years, being in the same state, and the grandson, in a different state, has not been involved in anything beyond an occasional visit. None of this makes any big difference however, because, with both of them having dementia diagnoses, ALL of their many monetary investments will be used up; the home is already sold as mom is now in assisted living and house sale proceeds are now paying for that. If she lives long enough, she will be on medicaid when she dies. We have been disbursing physical items ever since the house sold, as all is in storage buildings.....and I am handling that by simply asking family what they might especially desire, and then trying to give it to them as I can find it. I note in the trust book, what decisions have been made regarding possessions and when Mom is able I involve her in the decisions. Where she is resistant, I let it drop and don't deal with it for now....but make note of the interested item to go to which person. I look to some sort of 'value' as to keeping it relatively 'fair' but what I think is most important right now is to know and arrange that what someone desires to have they get. We are not in a situation where we have anything that has enormous value to it anyhow. We've sold one vehicle, one RV and the home, and cashed in almost all major investments just to keep them going. So its mostly household goods, jewelry (minimal amounts of value anyhow) and furniture, clothes and momentos. It ought to be easy. The hard part I've worried about is that the three grandkids don't get equal amounts, but I fear when we get to that point, I'll be writing checks for $1000 or less to all. It's set up that I get 75% and they get the remaining 25% split up in a funny way..... and since we are now down to about $3000 in life insurance, but no burial paid for yet, and I am the beneficiary on those two policies anyhow.....it's what ever might be left from the home sale at time of death. Mom is 91y and there is about $120,000 left, with her assisted living going to cost $4100/mo now but up to $5100.mo when she must go into memory care.....SO...not a problem. BUT, our lawyer lives in a different town, and they help me by email and phone calls all the time when I have questions. Also, my parents trusts have been revised multiple times since first created......so no reason your Dad's could not be revised to better clarify the current situation.
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